Idaho Falls School District 91 has chosen a location for its upcoming Center for Career and Technical Education.

Superintendent Jim Shank announced in a Facebook Live video Friday that the center will be located in the old Deseret Industries building on 450 E St. He said the facility is fairly large at about 37,000 square feet.

“We’re really excited because we’re going to be able to bring back some of the trades that we once offered that are in such huge demand right now,” Shank said in the video.

The Idaho Falls school board voted to approve the creation of the center during a November board meeting to give students more opportunities to learn industry skills at a centralized location.

District 91 is leasing the old Deseret Industries building from JH-2 Properties, a national nonresidential building operator. The terms of the lease were not available as of Friday afternoon.

The building on E Street was home to Deseret Industries for 46 years until it opened a new location in Ammon in 2018.

District 91 students can currently take technical education courses in nursing assistant, auto, culinary arts and computer science fields at various locations within the district. The new center will offer all technical education courses except auto, while also including new courses in construction, agriculture and horticulture.

“We’re going to leave automotive where it’s at (in Idaho Falls High School) because we recently did a lot of work to improve that facility and it does a great job right there,” Shank said during the video.

Across the district, 220 students are currently enrolled in technical education courses, wrote Margaret Wimborne, the district’s director of Communications and Community Engagement, in a text to the Post Register.

Several of the technical education courses offered by the district are located at Compass Academy. Shank said as these courses move to the centralized facility, the district is considering options for how Compass Academy will convert the space used for the courses. One possibility is to establish courses for seventh- and eighth-graders at the school.

Compass Academy has a unique instructional model as a magnet high school, Wimborne said in the video. The school uses project-based learning and combines multiple subjects so students may have an assignment that incorporates both biology and health, she said. Every student at the school receives a laptop for research and to complete schoolwork.

Parents of fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders will receive a survey so the district can gauge interest on expanding the magnet school opportunities to younger students.

Wimborne said in the video the location of the center is beneficial for students because it’s downtown and accessible for students across the district. This also allows District 91 to connect with nearby businesses and give students more practical experience.

The district has obtained a conditional use permit for the building to be used as a school facility in December, Shank said in the video. The goal is to open the building at the start of the 2022-2023 school year this fall.

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