- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 14, 2015

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - DeSoto County Schools is ready to take the wraps off its new vocational-technical center in Horn Lake with a ribbon-cutting Oct. 22.

The Commercial Appeal reports (https://bit.ly/1ZBdTn1) the ceremony will officially mark completion of the project, part of the system’s emphasis on providing a career path for students not interested in a traditional college-bound path out of high school.

The $12 million facility, known as Career Technology Center West, is on 70 acres at U.S. 51 and Nail Road in Horn Lake. It replaces a smaller vo-tech operation in Southaven High School, where the vacated space is being converted into classrooms for the high school and Southaven Middle School.

The new vo-tech facility, which opened the school year in August with about 400 students, offers programs in automotive, metal and welding, carpentry and culinary. It partners with Northwest Mississippi Community College.

The campus serves students from the western side of DeSoto County. The smaller Career Technology Center East in Olive Branch serves eastern DeSoto County.

Outgoing Supt. Milton Kuykendall pushed the facility as the last major project of his tenure before retiring at the end of this year.

“I believe we’re missing a lot of kids by sending everyone through a college prep curriculum,” Kuykendall said at the July naming ceremony for Kuykendall Lane, the street leading onto the west center’s campus. “Kids can come here and learn a trade and end up making more money than the principal of the school.”

Kuykendall says 80 percent of jobs don’t require a college degree.

Parts of the campus were ready for school opening in August, but some operations had to be delayed until construction was completed. School system spokeswoman Katherine Nelson said Tuesday workers are attempting “to make the building fully functional by Oct. 22.”

Some work was delayed because of weather issues last winter.

Tours will be offered after the 9:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting, which is open to the public.

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For more information, visit the Career Technology Center West website at ctcw.desotocountyschools.org.

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, https://www.commercialappeal.com

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