YV Technical School expansion plans on hold - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

YV Technical School expansion plans on hold

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YAKIMA--The 2010 legislative session has come and gone and for the second straight year, Yakima Valley Technical School isn't getting the money to expand.

YV Tech welcomed its first students at the new school on South 18th Street last fall as the first step in bringing all technical students onto one campus.

But, there's supposed to be more.  YV Tech wants to expand on this building, and also add a whole new facility next door.

It's state of the art for criminal justice and video production, and a great teaching tool for Yakima Valley Technical students.

Now, Principal Craig Dwight wants to expand the program and serve more students.

"When we have Phase Two, we'll be able to handle 1200 students a day," Dwight said.  "Right now, we're split between five or six different locations and 800 students."

One of those classrooms is the Automotive Technical Center at Yakima Valley Community College.  College and high school students currently share the facilities.

"Sometimes that can limit the amount of time a student has in an area," instructor George Mason said.  "And, [sharing space] can limit the total number of students we take on."

Mason can teach about 85 tech students at a time right now, but turn a parking lot north of the main YV Tech School into a new auto center, as Phase Two would do, and that number jumps to 120.

Phase Two is shovel-ready, according to Dwight.  But, with big budget deficits the past two years, the school's been ignored by the state legislature.

"Anything in the computer sciences or engineering or health occupations those are 100 percent placement across the country," Dwight said.  "We can't train people because we have no facility."

Dwight's not optimistic funding will come next year either, but thinks 2012 could be the year.

Once the legislature does approve money for the project, Dwight estimates it would take 16 months for Phase Two classes to be ready for use.

In the meantime, students will pitch in to make room for more students.  Carpentry classes are building portable classrooms until more permanent space is available.