EAST MANATEE -- Manatee Technical Institute presented its new main campus to the public with a grand dedication ceremony Thursday.
MTI is a career and technical center offering classes in automotive services, health professions, cosmetology, culinary arts, broadcast and more.
School board officials, MTI Director Mary Cantrell, elected county officials, and Doug Wagner, who oversees adult, career and technical education for the district, participated in the ribbon cuttings for the main entrance, the Wagner Auditorium, Cantrell Hall, and the east and west wings. There was also a ribbon cutting for each individual program. The Braden River High School string quartet performed and the culinary students prepared the refreshments.
The Manatee County School Board first approved the establishment of the institute's west location on 34th Street West in June 1962. The east campus in Lakewood Ranch was added in 2007.
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"The west campus didn't meet 21st century standards," Cantrell said. "The students deserve a place that reflects how hard they are working." She added that the new center was built with top safety and security in mind. The students and teachers made suggestions on features of the new building, including the glass walls on each classroom for safety and so that Cantrell can observe classes without interrupting instructors.
Cantrell stressed the importance of strong programs within Manatee County.
"People move to where the jobs are, and local trained professionals will help create more jobs," Cantrell said.
Each program area is taught by instructors with national certifications.
MTI's campus cost $40 million to build.
"This is an example of why it is important to get our fiscal house in order," said school board member Dave "Watchdog" Miner, who believes that MTI is a job creation engine.
The architect group Fawley Bryant and the construction company Beck Group made the vision for the new campus a reality with 35 million pounds of concrete.
"This is more than a new building; this is a foundation for students," said John Ziemnicki, chair of the MTI Board of Governors and MTI Foundation.
The new campus is located on State Road 70 directly in front of Braden River High School.
MTI is accepting students in all of their locations at any time during the school year, although some programs have specific entry dates. For more inforamtion, visit manateetechnicalinstitue.org.