Last weekend, the Carbon Career and Technical Institute hosted a dedication in honor of the completion of the CCTI expansion and renovation project. The project, which began construction in April 2009, concluded Aug. 19.

The goals of the project were to be finished on time for the start of the 2011-2012 school year and on budget. The budget was $20 million and the project was funded through bonds. Both goals were achieved.

"We did meet our goals and we surpassed our goals and that could not have been done without everyone working together to achieve those goals," stated David Reinbold, Administrative Director.

"Everyone was committed and dedicated to the project," he added.

The following commented at the dedication: Reinbold; Christian Caputo, 2008 graduate of CCTI ; Bob Dempsey, 1969 graduate of Carbon County Area Vocational Technical School (now named CCTI); Brandon Poole, current CCTI marketing student; Trese Markle, current CCTI graphic design student; Dr. Robert Mauro, former CCTI Administrative Director (2005-2008); Kevin Godshall, architect of Godshall Kane Architects, LLC; Dawn Ferrante, executive director of Carbon County Economic Development Corporation; Thomas Leamer, vice president for Academic Services and Student Development at Lehigh Carbon Community College; Anthony DeMarco, CCTI Joint Operating Committee Chair; and Dave Kost, 1972 graduate of Carbon County Area Vocational Technical School and CCTI Supervisor of Building and Grounds.

The original dedication of CCTI, then known as Carbon County Area Vocational Technical School, took place in 1966 and the building had not had any major changes since then.

Godshall stated that in 1966 the school was built as a commitment to career and technical education

"This building is a revitalization of that commitment," he stated.

The current project included a 33,000-squarefoot expansion with renovations being done to the rest of the building. The kitchen, cafeteria, The Ronald Esrang Restaurant at the Harvest Café, cosmetology spa, carpentry lab, media center, and academic classrooms are all included in the new expansion.

Throughout the building all of the labs are larger, including the carpentry lab, which features a higher ceiling for large projects. The school also features new and updated equipment.

The building is reorganized so the program areas are grouped together with similar trades being in the same areas. Each program area has locker rooms, theory rooms, and labs.

The building is also designed for ease and safety when visitors come to the school. The restaurant, cafeteria, cosmetology spa, and administration section are located in the front of the building.

"Our architects gave us a beautiful building, a very functional building," stated Kost.

Ferrante stated, "These kinds of facilities really make a difference in our future economy."

She discussed how CCTI students get real life experience and hands on training before graduating high school.

Leamer discussed how CCTI and LCCC work closely together to give students real life opportunities.

The construction of the building began in 2009 but the process to get the project going started in 1999. Feasibility studies were done to see if the project could be done and if it would be supported by the school districts. The idea of expansion would be promoted for years.

According to Reinbold, Dr. Mauro really supported the project and he was, "instrumental in promoting it."

"We only did what needed to be done," stated Dr. Mauro. "But, moving ahead, going forward, creativity, drive, dedication, and commitment are things that make this school great."

Former graduates, Caputo and Dempsey, as well as current students, Poole and Markle, discussed how CCTI changed their lives.

Caputo stated that he learned skills at CCTI that have helped him in college and with his job. Dempsey discussed how he learned skills that helped him through the Navy all the way through working in the White House.

Both Poole and Markle stated that they are involved in numerous organizations in CCTI and they both feel the experiences at CCTI have inspired and encouraged them.

DeMarco and Reinbold as well as others expressed their gratitude to Principal Brent Borzak, Dave Kost, Godshall Kane Architects, LLC, Green Hill Terrace, Terraform Engineering, administrators, teachers, staff, representatives of LCCC, and Carbon County school board members for their continuous support with this project.

"This is an exciting time for career and technical education here in Carbon County and beyond. Many people are beginning to recognize that quality career and technical education programs emphasize a dual career path that prepares students for post secondary school and immediate entry to the workforce," stated Reinbold.

The dedication included a brunch prepared and served by CCTI culinary arts students and tour of the school.

Reinbold presented Kost with a plaque recognizing him and his cleaning and maintenance staff for all the work they put into the project.

There was also a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by Poole and Markle.