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Germanna may solve new school’s auto-shop dilemma

BY LINDLEY ESTES

Stafford High students, who stand to lose automotive shop classes after the new high school opens in 2015, may take courses at Germanna Community College’s new Automotive Technology Center.

Superintendent Randy Bridges said Wednesday that Stafford schools have begun discussions with Germanna officials about using the state-of-the-art auto center near Stafford Regional Airport.

Bridges said he has talked to Germanna President David Sam about using the center, which opened in August, on Blackjack Road off Centreport Parkway.

Bridges said Germanna is willing to let Stafford High students get training in the college automotive facility for free as long as Stafford provides a teacher and transportation for the students.

Germanna spokesman Michael Zitz acknowledged that discussions are under way, but said he could not provide details.

School Board member Meg Bohmke, who represents the Falmouth District, said the prospect of sending Stafford High students to the Germanna center is “exciting.”

She said she’s driven the route between the high school and Germanna’s auto center and they are only about two miles apart.

The $64 million rebuild of Stafford High will be on land next to the existing school. The current building, which is 37 years old, will be demolished, and there’s no space allocated for an automotive program in the new building’s three-story design.

About 110 Stafford High students are taking automotive classes now. Similar auto programs at Brooke Point and North Stafford high schools are too crowded to take Stafford High students, county school officials have said. The county’s other two high schools—Colonial Forge and Mountain View—don’t offer the courses.

Germanna’s 15,000-square-foot automotive center includes a classroom, a 24-station computer lab and two automotive labs with four bays each.

About 60 students are taking classes there now, including about a half-dozen James Monroe High School students. The center can handle as many as 150 students per term, college officials have said.

Stafford County’s Economic Development Authority provided a $75,000 grant to help construct the center.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2012/09/26/germanna-may-solve-new-schools-auto-shop-dilemma/

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