March 3, 2017
When the C-TEC building was originally built in 1977, it was supposed to only last ten years. Two bond issues were passed that were meant to include the renovations, but Career and Technical Education was put off, as it was thought to meet the needs of students already. However, this is about to change.
At the beginning of March, the existing classes in the C-TEC building will be moving to the middle school in preparation for the demolition over spring break. According to Ryan Cobbs [assistant superintendent], “true construction” on the C-TEC building is set to begin in April.
“It’s long overdue, for the construction of a true career and tech ed facility,” Cobbs said. “It was the intention of our district to have this done long before.”
In the forty years that the building has lasted, it has certainly had its ups and downs for students and faculty at OHS.
“It is a little run down, so it’s good that we’re going to have a cleaner, more efficient space,” Jacob Aiken  said. “At the same time, since I’ve been out here all my years of high school, it is going to be kind of bittersweet.”
While the construction of a new C-TEC building is exciting for many students and staff, it is not the only renovation that is expected to change the learning environment.
“We nearly doubled the size of space in our building right now, and the new spaces are certainly areas that we have needed to improve upon for a number of years,” Cobbs said.
For example, a comparison of science classrooms in 1967 to now was done in preparation for the current bond issue, showing minimal change in the classroom.
“Fifty years of a classroom, basically having nothing done to it to improve the space for learning, even though the expectations for science have changed dramatically in those fifty years,” Cobbs said. “The science wing is just a huge piece of what we need to do for our kids and how the expectations have changed for science learning.”
The new science wing is set to open for school when students return in the fall of 2017. This is also when the renovations for the media center and the 200 hallway are expected to begin.
Another study was done on student involvement in fine arts, explaining why Cobbs said he is most excited about the performing arts center.
“The numbers we had when we started this bond issue was nearly two thirds of all the students at Ottawa High School participated in fine arts. And yet, we had no home for the fine arts,” Cobbs said.
This renovation not only provides for new science and education needs, expands the career and tech education facility, and gives the fine arts a home, it also gives a new meaning to the word community in Ottawa, Kansas.
“We begin to build a sense of eagerness and desire to be an Ottawa High School student with all of our kids,” Cobbs said. “That’s probably what I look forward to most and hopefully people look forward to it as well.”