WESTOVER, MD, November 9, 2019 – Somerset County Technical High School recently welcomed over 200 guests at their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The event featured a catered reception by the school’s Culinary Arts Students and a speaking program with remarks by School District and Board of Education officials, Local County, State and Federal officials, as well as Technical High School student remarks. Governor Larry Hogan’s Citation for the new school was read by Ms. Tiara Booker-Dwyer, Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland State Senator, Marybeth Carozza and Maryland State Delegate, Charles Otto. A proclamation from United States Congressman Andy Harris was also presented by Bill Reddish on his behalf. An additional Governor’s citation was read by Senator Carozza for Dr. John B. Gaddis, Superintendent of Somerset County Public Schools for his unwavering efforts to make the new Technical High School a reality for youth in the County. After the conclusion of the speaking program, the official cutting of the ribbon was performed outside of the school entrance by Dr. Gaddis, and guests participated in facility tours where school instructors shared information about their programs from their classrooms and workspaces.
The majority of funding for the $42 million building was provided by the State of Maryland Interagency Commission on School Construction, with Somerset County Commissioners providing additional funding through a USDA loan to finance ineligible construction costs and purchase necessary furniture, equipment and technological learning aids for students. One of the main considerations in the construction of the facility was the minimizing of ongoing operating costs. The LEED green building is extremely energy efficient, featuring a high SRI “cool roof” material and vegetated roof areas to provide additional insulation. Landscaping throughout the site was specifically chosen to eliminate the need for on-site irrigation. The building was constructed using 20% recycled content or materials extracted and manufactured within a 500-mile radius, and over 400 tons of construction waste were diverted from the landfill and recycled, accounting for nearly 75% of the total waste generated during construction. Additionally, building materials were selected for their high-durability and low-maintenance qualities. The facility has an industrial feel and layout, with many of the building system components exposed so that students may use the building itself as a learning tool. School safety was also a major consideration during construction with the building featuring a secure vestibule at the entrance, smoke evacuation system, numerous security cameras and smart classroom design features that provide additional security in the event of a crisis situation.
Somerset County Technical High School opened its doors to students in September of 2019 and currently serves nearly 400 students in grades 8-12, who are fed into the Technical School from Crisfield and Washington High Schools. The school’s career readiness programs include Automotive Technology, Biomedical Sciences, Business Administration Services, Masonry & Carpentry Construction, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Health Professions, Horticulture, HVAC Systems, Information Technology, Interactive Media, Medium & Heavy Truck, Pre-Engineering and the Teacher’s Academy. In addition to dedicated learning spaces for each program within the school, the building also includes cooperative-use space designed to allow public use of the facility’s culinary arts banquet room and distance learning lab as well as dedicated cooperative-use spaces for the Adult Education and Workforce Development Programs. These policies reduce the need for additional community facilities and make the new facility a more integrated part of the community.
Dr. John B. Gaddis, Superintendent of Somerset County Public Schools shared, “We are incredibly proud to share this amazing building and our career readiness programs with the community at our ribbon cutting ceremony. A school of this magnitude proves that we are committed to the academic and technical aspects of education in Somerset County. This building will change how we prepare our students for years to come.”
Somerset County Technical High School receives a citation from Governor Hogan. (L-R) Bill Reddish, US Congressman Andy Harris’ representative, Tiara Booker-Dwyer, Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Career and College Readiness, Maryland State Senator Marybeth Carozza, Dr. John B. Gaddis, Superintendent, Keith O’Neal, Principal of Somerset County Technical High School, Maryland State Delegate Charles Otto
(L-R) Dr. Gaddis and Principal, Keith O’Neal receive a citation from Bill Reddish on behalf of Congressman Andy Harris.
Dr. Gaddis receives an additional Governor’s Citation for his efforts on the Technical High School project. (L-R) Deputy Superintendent, Thomas Davis, Delegate Charles Otto, Superintendent, Dr. John Gaddis, Maryland Senator Marybeth Carozza and Director of Schools, Mrs. Tracie Bartemy
Guests and elected officials gather as Dr. John B. Gaddis cuts the ceremonial ribbon at the entrance to Somerset County Technical High School.