Story by Sonja Bailes, Bossier Parish Schools Public Relations Liaison
Bossier Parish Technical School educators’ reactions were much like kids on Christmas morning as they finally getting their first sneak peek inside the new Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning that will open its doors in Fall 2015.
To say they were eager to see what awaits them is an understatement. Moving day cannot get here fast enough.
“I have windows!” exclaimed one as she walked into what will be her First Responder classroom. “It’s huge! Look at the size of this!” another one remarked as she eyed her space for the Certified Nursing Assistant course. Reality exceeded expectations, no question about it.
Lots of oohs and aahs followed as Ben Bledsoe and Bryan Yeates with Bledsoe Architects guided staff members on the tour of the sprawling 110,000 square foot facility. With carpentry, welding and auto body repair in a separate building from health care, business and graphic arts, the design will be much more conducive to learning.
“The project is nearing the 70-percent completion mark with substantial completion of the entire project scheduled for June,” said Clarence Babineaux of SGB and Yates, the firm contracted by Bossier Schools to manage its 10-year construction program.
BPSTIL is comprised of three wings; a two-story classroom wing, an administrative wing and the one that will house more industrial coursework. Each is being finished in a phased approach, the administrative wing being completed first so Principal Jayda Spillers and her team can begin moving in and get ready for students.
Grass is not growing under their feet in the meantime. Spillers and Career Counselor Laura Demascal have been visiting high schools across Bossier Parish, talking to students about the classes being offered next year. Among them: law studies, graphic arts and TV production, drafting and design technology, culinary arts, outdoor power equipment and welding. The list goes on.
Spillers has been actively engaging the community as well, drumming up excitement about technical education and what BPSTIL will have to offer. She has been on a speaking circuit, addressing the Bossier City Lions Club, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce Innovation Committee and others.
Teachers are doing their part, too, visiting with community business and industry leaders to work on building advisory committees for their programs.
“As we develop our programs, it is important for us to gain input from our business and industry partners to improve our technical curricula,” Spillers said. “If we are not focusing on our business and industry needs, then we are not benefiting our students’ or community’s needs.”