Cooper: Hamilton County's building and construction workforce center fill a need for non-college bound students and adults

Staff file photo / The former Mary Ann Garber Elementary School is slated to find new life as the Building and Construction Workforce Center.

A new horizon is just around the corner for many non-college-bound students with Wednesday's update on a new vocational center at the former Mary Ann Garber Elementary School in East Chattanooga, and all that will be necessary is for them to seize it.

The Building and Construction Workforce Center will offer training in masonry, carpentry, welding and HVAC, and construction work at an outdoor site. The center will be a partnership among the state, city, county, school district, Chattanooga State Community College, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee (AGC).

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger told the county commission at its weekly meeting Wednesday the school should open by August 2022.

The school district currently offers vocational training at Sequoyah High School in the north part of the county, plus at some of its Future Ready Institutes, but their location makes it difficult for students who lack transportation.