Voters in Angleton ISD will get their first chance to vote on a $90 million bond program Oct. 21, with district officials emphasizing the $53.4 million Career and Technology Center at its core.

A growth in industry jobs and students pursuing technical programs has brought about a 60 percent increase in CTE program enrollment, and space in the high school is increasingly becoming an issue, CTE Director Roy Gardener said.

“The main thing is we’re just too crowded right now,” Gardener said during a tour of the high school CTE classrooms.

The after-school robotics team is traveling to the junior high for its work because there isn’t sufficient space for the students at the high school, Gardener said. Fashion design students are crowded into one lab and one of the engineering classes uses an old science classroom due to insufficient space, he said.

“(The CTE center) is definitely a need because the school district has done some polls and kids are wanting more of these types of classes,” said Linda Winder, a member of the bond advisory committee.

With plans to locate the facility behind the high school, the center would help expand classroom sizes, allow more students to pursue certifications needed for their programs and create sufficient labs for the fashion program and the health and sciences practicum space, district spokeswoman Hanna Chalmers said.

“CTE has substantially grown over the past 10 years, and it’s continuing to change and grow,” Chalmers said. “Also, with our industry needs, what we’re seeing is a high demand for more emphasis.”

Welding, education, business, health and science, agricultural science, engineering, welding, hospitality/culinary arts and audio/visual production are all saw increased interest from students this school year compared with the year before, Superintendent Phil Edwards said. Enrollment across the CTE program grew 75 percent year to year, according to the district.

Among those with the largest increases are the culinary arts classes, whose 169 students have to double up on available equipment, and computer science, animation and AV technology classes have doubled their enrollment, the district reports.

The program has not turned anyone away, but some CTE students are bused to the junior high for courses, Gardener said.

“This has been a push from the state,” Chalmers said. “More than 90 percent of high school kids are in some type of CTE course.”

The current classrooms being used for CTE instruction in the high school will be renovated and converted to academic classrooms, which will cost $6 million from the bond, school officials said.

The conversions will allow for district growth and support an influx of students for the next 10 to 15 years without having to build a new high school, Edwards said.

Early voting will be Oct. 21 to Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 5.

Courtney Blackann is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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