ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth School Department and other organizations want to update the Hancock County Trade School for area high school students.
Jake Taylor of the Ellsworth Business Development Corporation said he and the Ellsworth School Department have been discussing the expansion of the Hancock County Technical Center since 2018.
Taylor says since then things have moved on pretty quickly. The city council has jumped on board and stakeholders are securing funding for the project they hope to see through.
“I think it’s just a role for the whole workforce to play, if we can play our part in the region and do our best to feed the local region that needs those workers, that’s the whole concept,” Taylor says. .
Taylor says Oak Point Associates is an architectural design and engineering firm working on the project. They created a preliminary plan of what a new school might look like and how much it would cost.
Oak Point Associates says a new trade school will cost more than $57 million.
They say updating the school already there would cost around $52 million.
Some city councilors say they will apply for grants and seek funding from the state. Councilors say they think now is the best time to expand the school. Ellsworth School Board member Paul Markosian says the school currently has 200 pupils and is getting bigger every year.
“We actually had a female student who graduated last June who had 74 college credits when she graduated. She went to HCTC, she was also a student at Ellsworth High School, and she’s the first student in Maine to earn an associate’s degree before she graduated from high school,” says Markosian.
Markosian and Taylor say this is the first step in getting the ball rolling and trying to secure the financing they need to bring the construction plan to life.