Officials from Sussex Technical School District will meet with the state’s Preliminary Land Use Service today in Dover to review potential sites for construction of a new high school in Georgetown.
“Sussex Technical School District has identified the need to expand current career technical education offerings to meet the demand within the county and state for students to graduate career and college ready,” said AJ Lathbury, district superintendent.
Lathbury said the district has been working towards a master plan expansion since the 2004-2005 school year. The district’s current facility measures over 260,000 square feet. The new facility is expected to be roughly 420,000 square feet.
“Technical program areas require space and space goes beyond a traditional classroom,” Lathbury said. “It includes shop/lab space to emulate business and industry standards.”
The superintendent added the expansion will allow for inclusion of new technical areas in the district’s curriculum.
“This would allow additional opportunities to Sussex Technical High School students to graduate with an industry standard or certification in their respective area and be prepared to immediately enter the workforce while also preparing them for the opportunity to advance to additional education, whether it is apprenticeships, technical training, associate degrees or other post-secondary opportunities,” Lathbury said.
There are three sites under consideration. The first site is about 140 acres and lies on the northwest corner of the intersection of U.S. Route 113 and Del. Route 9. The second site is about 240 acres and lies on the southwest side of U.S. Route 113 at its intersection with E. Trap Pond Road. The third option is also about 240 acres and lies between Savannah and Sand Hill roads near the intersection with Del. Route 9.
“It is inevitably up to the reviewers of the PLUS process to identify the best site after evaluating all factors that impact a project,” Lathbury said, adding the district has not yet received a certification of necessity for new high school construction from the state. “We do have a verbal confirmation that the district is being advanced by the Department of Education to the Office of Management & Budget for land acquisition for a potential site.”
Lathbury said the “best case scenario in a perfect world” would have a new high school constructed and ready for use by 2019. He said the district may not be authorized by the state to maintain ownership of the current facility, located between Georgetown and Laurel on the southeast side of Del. Route 9. If they can stay there, Lathbury said the district will expand its adult education/extended learning offerings and partnerships.
Because all three potential sites lie within town limits, the district reached out to the Georgetown Town Council for feedback on the proposal. At a recent regular meeting, the council voted to send a letter to the state Office of State Planning Coordination in support of the school’s location in Georgetown. However, the decision was not reached without vocal reservations regarding removal of a large parcel from Georgetown’s tax rolls, as the district is a non-profit entity.
Page 2 of 2 - “I know we can’t afford to have that much property taken off the tax rolls; but on the other hand it will certainly improve our sewer and water income,” said Councilwoman Sue Barlow. “I would welcome them to our town.”
The PLUS meeting with Sussex Tech will be held at 9:30 a.m. today in Room 133 of the Haslet Armory, 122 Martin Luther King Boulevard, South Dover. For more information, call (302) 739-4206.