County Officials Tour New Worcester Tech School

new Worcester Technical High School  (WTS) will open its doors to students on Oct.
20, according to Board of Education President Gary Mumford.

The new $43 million technical
school building will take over from an inadequate structure in poor repair that
was built in the 1950s to house Worcester
County’s African American secondary
school, Worcester
High School.

The community has pushed for a
new technical school for years.

The spacious, airy building will
house programs ranging from cosmetology, to carpentry to protective services.

County officials and staff
toured the new building this week, led by WTS Principal Dr. Jane Pruitt.

“A month from now, hopefully,
you’ll return and there’ll be happy students and happy staff,” Pruitt said,
setting off to lead the tour.

Enrollment in the county’s
vocational and technical programs is up by 150 students, to total 450 students
who will switch over to the state-of-the-art building in October. The new
school can accommodate 650 students.

This year, Worcester County
high school students can take advantage of two new programs, a pre-engineering
program and an electric wiring program.

“We needed it,” Commission
President Virgil Shockley said of the new building, adding that both Pocomoke High School
and Snow Hill High School
also need renovations and improvements.

“The building looks terrific,”
said Worcester County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes. “I wish this
would have been around when I was in high school.”

Instead of making do in the old
Worcester High gymnasium, auto repair students will use a new, six-bay repair
shop and associated classrooms.

The culinary arts students will
each have their own stove in class, instead of sharing and will have their own

Nursing students will study in a
purpose-built classroom modeled after a hospital with the same type of
equipment that hospitals use.

Each classroom has a whiteboard
connected to a computer, allowing a teacher to manipulate an image on the

The new building is the only
two-level school in the county.

“It’s phenomenal,” said Andes. “I can’t think of words to describe the
difference. It’s a building that makes learning come alive.”