Amarillo ISD’s new Career Academy building to get $54.4 million makeover

VIDEO: Amarillo ISD’s new Career Academy building to get $54.4 million makeover

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The new Career Academy in Amarillo is pushing forward after designs for the school were approved today with a projected cost of $54.4 million.

“One of our goals, or one of our priorities, as a board we set back in August of 2019 was career and college military readiness,” says Robin Malone, president of Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees. “We wanted to make sure we were meeting the needs of all of our students.”

With the academy considering 11 different programs, Malone realizes that each student is on their own path.

“What we’ve learned is that there is diversity in what our students are needing from their public school education,” said Malone.

If students are interested in going into the workforce without pursuing a college degree, they can do that with this program.

“We know that a lot of students don’t want to pursue the baccalaureate track, and so this career academy is in that same pain,” said Malone. “It’s going to reach out to those students who want hands-on experience, who have a desire to learn a trade and go directly into the workforce after they graduate from high school.”

Malone hopes the real work experience provided at the academy will be all the preparation students need for a successful career.

“The goal is that they can get everything they need from this career academy and be ready to enter into the workforce,” said Malone.

While this is an academy, students will be focusing on their trade for a good portion of their day, perfecting their skills.

“That’s what this career academy will be,” said Jay Barrett, principal of Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning. “It’s where students can come to work on their majors, the things that will lead them into careers.”

The idea of this program is to help students learn what they want to do, so they can go directly into that field after high school.

“The beauty of what we’re doing is creating a multiplicity of pathways for students to go from high school to college to the world of work to wherever they want to go,” said Barrett.

Principal Barrett shares an encouraging word for students figuring out their life path after high school.

“You have options,” said Barrett. “You have a choice. If college is for you, let’s get you connected the right way, so that you can get there. Let’s make your high school experience be the start of your college experience.”

“This will be truly a game changer, not just for AISD but for an entire region,” said Barrett.

The new career school is expected to open next fall.

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