03-02-2019, 07:31 PM
A rendering of the proposed aerospace building at Metro Tech, a CareerTech facility in Oklahoma City. The building is part of an $80 million bond proposal that will be decided by voters Tuesday.
Many voters in Oklahoma City will have the chance Tuesday to vote on an $80 million bond issue for Metro Tech, the CareerTech school that services much of the metro.
About $30 million of the bond issue is earmarked for construction and equipping of a building that would be used by Metro Tech's aerospace program for high school and adult students. If the bond is approved, the school's aerospace program would move from a facility near Will Rogers World Airport that is owned by the airport trust.
"Although we paid to have it built, we will never own that property," said Brian Ruttman, Metro Tech associate superintendent for business and operational services.
The program would relocate to an 80,000 square-foot building on the school's South Bryant Campus, which is closer to Tinker Air Force Base, Boeing Corp. and other industry providers.
While some of the money would go toward construction costs, Metro Tech also needs to equip the facility once it's built, officials said.
"There will be some aircraft components we'll need," Ruttman said. "There are some training simulators that will allow us to work with students in a simulated environment before we start turning them loose on an aircraft engine."
Oklahoma has seen renewed interest in improving its aerospace industry education programs. On the state level, lawmakers are considering whether to allow the creation of a $45 million, CareerTech-led statewide facility for training aerospace workers. Senate Bill 432 by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Oklahoma City, unanimously passed out of the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
"When you look at what CareerTech does in Oklahoma as far as economic development and filling that skills gap, the more people we can get into our schools and get them trained, the better," Ruttman said. "Everything we're doing with this bond is keeping the student at the center of it."
Along with the aerospace building, the bond would support improvements to structures used by Metro Tech's programs for training future police and firefighters, construction workers and welders. It also would pay for a new Health Services building and community safe room, as well as an update to the science, technology, engineering and math program.
The Metro Tech bond issue would raise property taxes by 5.46 percent for residents in the Oklahoma City Public Schools district and slightly more than 5 percent for property owners in Millwood and Crooked Oak schools.