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UASD moves to supporting tech and career center improvements

Upper Adams School District (UASD) School Board voted on Tuesday to contribute their share to finance improvements necessary to Cumberland Perry Area Career and Technical Center.

Justin Bruhn, Administrative Director of Cumberland Perry presented plans for the center’s facility improvement and expansion project.  

Enrollment for the career and tech center has skyrocketed 41 percent since 2011, leaping from 900 students to about 1,300 students, he said.

This enrollment growth also includes a waitlist of 300 students through the past year, “And frankly I don’t think that’s something that should happen to students,” Bruhn said.

Planning for the next generation of career and technical students from 13 school districts, Cumberland Perry is focused on improving and expanding its current program capacities, Bruhn said.

“I would say every seat is getting more and more competitive,” he said.

Future infrastructure improvements look to modernize the career center’s very dated current building located at 110 Old Willow Mill Road, Mechanicsburg, to allow for this influx of interest, he said.

Cumberland Perry currently has 22 programs and looks to prioritize expanding offerings to ensure all students are provided an opportunity to reach their full potential.

“Whatever study you look at for career and tech ed, you’re going to find the student benefit,” Bruhn said.

Planned expansion of current programs include areas such as culinary arts, technology and automotive, as well as adding an emergency management program in addition to the criminal justice program, he said.  

The project’s total estimated cost structure is $23.5 million.

UASD’s percent share would be 3.396 percent with a principal share of $817,415; the financing would come out to $65,400 yearly for 20 years, he said.

Figures are estimates until financing is finalized, according to Bruhn.

Recounting success stories of students in the various programs to the board, Board President Tom Wilson said “We are sending our young men and women to a quality career and technical center.”

Superintendent Wesley Doll noted Upper Adams students are always excited during lunch before they head off to Cumberland Perry and are obviously committed and very proud of the work they do.

The career and tech programs give students something to do after high school, and “students are realizing it opens a lot of doors for them,” Bruhn said.

Acknowledging the district has an obligation to prepare students for their best possible future, the board unanimously approved funding its portion of the improvement project.  

Once the 13 districts give approval, the ball will start rolling for work to start on financing, Bruhn said.

The next steps of the project will be the authorization of the Cumberland Perry joint operating committee to prepare the final design and bid documents.

Tentative construction is anticipated to begin in April 2024.

In other business the board said a survey regarding stakeholder communication is available on the district website at upperadams.org.

The survey is available in both English and Spanish to all members of the UASD community and will be open through Dec. 5.

The board will next meet for a regular session Dec. 6.

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A.L. Grabenstein, reporter, is a graduate of Philadelphia's La Salle University with a B.A in Communication and has been a journalist since 2016. She has reported for the Gettysburg Times and the Times Herald in Norristown, PA. Grabenstein moved to Gettysburg from Montgomery County in 2019. She was born in San Antonio, TX., and previously lived in Virginia, and North Carolina. Grabenstein is actively involved in the borough of Gettysburg and loves giving voices to the local community.

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