Improvements to the Skill Center facility completed in summer 2004 by Spokane Public Schools, with money provided by the Washington State Legislature, include:
- replacing the wheel balancer in the auto shop with new, computerized equipment that simulates road pressure, giving students a chance to learn on the same equipment they’ll find in auto maintenance shops,
- replacing 20-year-old broadcast equipment in the control room with state-of-the-art digital equipment,
- revamping the student kitchen area with new stainless steel countertops, gas stoves and ovens, and deep fryers,
- building a 20-foot-tall covered outdoor work area for the construction classes,
- repairing and replacing 20-year-old tile flooring.
Spokane Public Schools’ staff, in consultation with the Skill Center’s cooperative of districts, is taking good care of our buildings with state dollars to make sure the facility is viable for another 20 years. Improvements at the Skill Center aren’t limited to what happened over the summer of 2004. In the past five years, the Skill Center also has received:
- a new computerized paint booth for the collision repair class that pumps air out of the room that’s cleaner than that going in,
- new translucent, insulated skylight panels in the hallways that keep things bright, while also saving on heating and cooling costs,
- industry-standard equipment for the dental program,
- upgrades in the restaurant area for students in the hospitality services program,
- a new roof, boiler, chiller and air-handling units.
Spokane Public Schools’ $165 million facilities improvement bond passed by voters in 2003 provides not only for building construction, but also for technology updates.
The Skill Center also received two carts of COWs — not the black-and-white animal, but Computers on Wheels, a cart of wireless laptop computers, ready for use by whichever class needs them. Each cart holds between 12 and 28 laptops.
The Skill Center gets a lot of mileage out of its computers – about six to eight years worth. Programs that need the latest and greatest get new equipment. And when they outgrow their machines, they are passed on to programs that need a computer only for basic assistance. When the computers get too old for them, they’re passed on to the computer repair students
The Spokane Skill Center is a cooperative of the Spokane, Central Valley, Cheney, Deer Park, East Valley, Mead, Medical Lake, Nine Mile Falls, and West Valley school districts. Students from Freeman, Liberty, Oakesdale, Riverside, Rosalia and Tekoa school districts, and Gonzaga Preparatory School, also attend the Skills Center on a space-available basis.
As the owner and operator of the Skill Center, Spokane Public Schools devotes staff resources to ensure the facility is well maintained and updated to meet changing program needs.