A first look inside the new Somerset Co. Technical High School

SOMERSET CO., Md. – In less than 2 weeks, almost 400 students will fill the halls of the new Somerset County Technical High School. It’s a highly anticipated project that’s been in the works for almost 7 years.

The 400 hundred foot long building isn’t your average high school. Inside there’s over $1 million worth of equipment that students will use for hands on learning. 47 ABC got a first look inside at a school that everyone in this rural community is excited about.

“We’re hoping to use the school actually as a teaching tool so that the kids can look around and see how things go together,” says Daniele Haley, the supervisor of facilities and capital planning for Somerset County Public Schools (SCPS).

The school includes a greenhouse, a massive carpentry shop, a state of the art culinary kitchen and garage doors leading to an auto repair center. Nothing about the new Somerset County Technical High School is normal and that’s how officials want it to be.

“You’ve heard ‘college and career’. We say ‘career and college’ to put the emphasis on it’s okay if you don’t go to college. But come to our technical school learn a trade, earn a certification and you can go right to work,” says SCPS Superintendent John Gaddis.

The new school is also a hub for the latest and greatest technology. “We have a building here that is up to date. It’s the most current that it can be and it’s really going to be a showcase for what a technology high school should look like,” says Gaddis.

But before the school opens this fall, crews are busy putting some finishing touches on everything.

“In a county where poverty is so high, to be able to get something like this that does have state of the art and we have everything I think that we wanted in this building to be able to deliver that to our students they’re just so excited,” says Haley.

And educators tell 47 ABC, they hope this school will inspire students by teaching them things they might not otherwise have learned. “That provides some freedom that sometimes our students haven’t had financially, with transportation, with whatever it may be. It just opens up a whole new world to them,” says Gaddis.

School security was also a major factor when designing this building. There are more than 60 security cameras, a secured vestibule and countless other features to make sure it’s a safe environment.

The school also has a unique green space on the roof. Many of the raw materials like bricks and wires are exposed to create an industrial feel. “It’s a technical school so it lends itself to sort of celebrating the construction materials,” says Haley.

It will likely be the first “LEED Gold Status” building for the county, which means it’s very energy efficient. School officials tell 47 ABC that the building will be used as a community space because there are plenty of rooms to host events.

The Somerset County Technical High School is located at 7994 Crisfield Highway, Westover, MD 21871. It is in the recently named “Tawes Technology & Career Center” which also encompasses Somerset 6 & 7 Intermediate School and the Somerset County Board of Education.

There will be an official ribbon cutting in October.

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