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New location considered for MTI

MANATEE — Manatee County School District Superintendent Tim McGonegal has a alternative site in mind for the new campus of Manatee Technical Institute, district officials announced today.

Next week he is slated to ask school board members to build a new MTI on State Road 70 near Caruso Road. A previous plan called for the new campus to be built on a 46-acre parcel behind Braden River High School on Caruso Road, on the northern most part of the property. That site had been embroiled in litigation.

The district owns 195 acres of land at the S.R. 70 and Caruso Road location, which is currently home to Braden River High School.

Under the McGonegal’s new proposal which he will recommend to the school board on Monday, the new MTI site would be switched to the southern-most part of the property so that it would be noticeable from S.R. 70. In addition to the change in sites for MTI, the superintendent will recommend a new master plan be developed for the entire 195-acre parcel. The property is expected to eventually include a new elementary, middle or K-8 school in addition to Braden River High and MTI.

The school board has been seeking a new home for MTI since 2002.

The new facilities are needed to replace the school’s aging campus currently located at 34th Street West in Bradenton, school officials said.

The new location would not only enhance and update MTI’s facilities, it would provide easier access to interested students from Manatee and surrounding counties because of its close proximity to Interstate 75, school officials said.

“The time to build a new MTI is at hand,” McGonegal said. “In this day and age and in this economy when 70 percent of all jobs require some kind of technical skill; the industry driven curriculum, continuing workforce development and academic skill enhancement offered at MTI are more essential than ever before. We’ve seen a 13 percent increase in career preparation enrollment this school year at MTI and I believe this new plan for MTI will finally move us forward by creating the facilities we need to fully serve area’s needs.”