Westminster Public Schools broke ground at Ranum Middle School as part of a vision to transform the campus into a career technical education …
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Westminster Public Schools broke ground at Ranum Middle School as part of a vision to transform the campus into a career technical education hub.
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful day for a Ranum grad, a Westminster Public School District 50 grad, to see this building being repurposed for not just our local community, but the community beyond our borders,” said Board President Ken Ciancio on Jan. 25.
The project, dubbed “Ranum Reimagined,” will provide students with a dual track. They'll have opportunities to pursue a career while earning their high school diploma. Career and technical education students will have opportunities to collaborate with industry experts and pick up professional certifications, college-level courses and job skills.
But it will take time to come to full fruition. The reimagined campus will evolve in stages to be built in the coming decade.
Phase I will build off existing career and technical education programs and add pathways to positions such as pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, certified nursing assistants, sports medicine, physical therapists and more.
Later phases are still being talked about between partners and community engagement efforts.
Based on student surveys, Phase II is expected to focus on public safety with programs in policing, fire sciences and emergency medicine. Phase III is slated to include aviation, aeronautics, aerospace and drone technology.
“We'd like to see this building open from 6 a.m. to midnight and used all the time for many, many purposes,” said Ciancio.
The campus will open opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning. Healthcare students might work with manufacturing students to mimic how industries often intersect with each other. Electricians would take their math courses through the lens of the electrical program.
Last year, the Board of Education approved $10 million from the general fund for the project. Another $10 million came from Certificates of Participation from a 2018 mill levy override.
“This really is a community-based investment that will benefit all of us by helping our students to develop rewarding, high-paying careers,” said Superintendent Pam Swanson.
Ryan McCoy, executive director of postsecondary workforce readiness, compared the project to an aspen tree, connecting the facility to educators, nonprofits, industries, government leaders and workers.
“The campus is part of a greater rethink of how education is delivered,” he said.
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