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Posted: 12/31/03

RETC opens to delight of students, teachers

by JENNIFER PRESTON
Observer Staff Writer
      
       The highlight of the Romeo Community Schools 2003-2004 school year was the opening of the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center.
       The RETC opened Aug. 27 to the delight of about 500 Romeo High School students. The school was built to alleviate overcrowding at the district's only high school.
       Students who attend classes at the $19.1 million RETC split their day between the center and the high school.Classes offered at the brand new state-of-the-art, 92,000 square foot facility include: Electronic technician, computer repair, emergency medical technician, architectural drafting, machine tool technology, accounting, computers in the workspace, desktop publishing and office technology.
       Two classes new to the district that are offered in the building are construction trades and hospitality food service. The center also offers English and social studies classes, which are what allow the students to split their day between the center and the regular high school.
       Most students have a two-hour block of their career tech specialty, then an English or social studies class that they take at RETC. There are about 300 students attending the school in the morning, and 220 in the afternoon. Students who attend in the morning return to Romeo High School for lunch and afternoon classes. Students who attend in the afternoon arrive at the RETC after having lunch at the high school.
       The center, which on first glance looks much like a factory, has several innovative features. The hallways are open and airy. Ceilings have been left open to reveal heating, venting and air conditioning equipment, all to invoke a high-tech, "industrial" feel. It's a big contrast to Romeo High School, which was originally built in 1958.
       The RETC doesn't end at career technical education classes. An advanced math and science center is located on the second floor of the building. Its current enrollment is made up of about 60 underclassmen; eventually it will be a 9-12 grade program.
       A bond issue passed in 2000 made the RETC possible. It was designed by Fanning/Howey and Associates of Novi. Etkin Skanska was the construction manager on the job.
       A formal open house was held for parents students and the community in mid-December.


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