Expansion plan proposed for Sno-Isle Skills Center

EVERETT – Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, which provides vocational training to about 1,000 high school students in the region, is planning a $22.8 million expansion

Preliminary designs would add programs and improve space for existing ones at the campus just south of the Boeing Co. plant.

The Legislature holds the purse strings and will consider design and construction requests next year.

The project is being proposed in two phases – the first for $6.7 million, and the second for $16.1 million.

“There are no guarantees,” said Debra Fulton, executive director of support services for the Mukilteo School District, which oversees the skills center.

Sno-Isle offers 21 classes in a variety of skills, such as culinary arts and diesel mechanics. Students from more than 40 high schools attend the center off Airport Road.

New programs in horticulture and floral design, biotechnology, auto body work and low-voltage cabling, heating, ventilation and air conditioning are part of the long-term expansion plan.

Phase 1 would include gutting and expanding an existing building to bring criminal justice, fashion design and a new auto body program under one roof.

Criminal justice is now in a portable, and fashion design is in a former horticulture room.

Auto body would replace an auto maintenance class because it offers more technical instruction and higher-paying career opportunities, Fulton said.

Phase 2 would include biotechnology and the low-voltage cable classes.

Judy Schwab, a Mukilteo School Board member who serves on a Sno-Isle advisory committee, said the expansion plans are forward thinking.

“The wonderful thing is Sno-Isle is very tuned in to where the economy is going,” she said. “They are thinking ahead about the kinds of jobs our students will want and need to be prepared for.”

While there are no guarantees, state Rep. Hans Dunshee, chairman of the House Capital Budget Committee, said skill centers have gained a higher profile among lawmakers than they once had.

“I think a lot of legislators, myself included, think we ought to do better by skills centers,” said Dunshee, D-Snohomish.

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