Fort Smith Public Schools Announce Federal Grant To Support New Career Technology Center

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The Fort Smith Public School District announced a $1.4 million grant from the federal government to help pay for a new career technology center.

It won’t be long before renovations start on the new 180,000 square feet facility donated to the school district.

When it’s all done students will take classes to prepare them for careers in advance manufacturing, healthcare and information technology.

“As students graduate with these skill sets, with these certifications, with this knowledge they can enter the workforce directly and secure a high paying job or they can further their education," said Doug Brubaker, Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent.

The grant money from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will be used to transform the building.

Congressman Steve Womack says this is a good example of federal spending.

 “Anything we could do today with federal spending that gives us a return on investment I think is wise spending and these $1.4 million will go along way to leverage money that the fort smith patrons have given up through their mileage to make this a reality," Womack said.

A rendering shows what the new school will look like.

Initially, it will accommodate 150 students in the mornings and another 150 in the afternoon with room to grow.

Classes will be taught by faculty from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith.

"What we’re really looking for is individuals that want to pursue their passion and really put that to work long term. We love the idea of students graduating from high school with additional credentials that help them to earn money," said UFAS Chancellor Terisa Riley.

The career technology center, which has yet to be named, is expected to open in the fall of 2021.

This is all part of the school district Vision 2023 plan which led to a voter-approved a millage increase in 2018.

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