Washington State will fund construction of a new health sciences facility as part of Puget Sound Skills Center (PSSC).  The $19.4 million project was approved by the state legislature in the 2015-2017 biennial budget. The project is fully funded by the state and will have no impact on the school district’s capital fund.

The state-of-the-art facility will be constructed south of the existing buildings at PSSC on property already owned by Highline Public Schools. Groundbreaking is anticipated in March 2016, and the project is expected to be complete in time for the 2017-18 school year.

The health sciences building will house educational programs in dental assisting, nursing certification and biomedical research. The two-story building will be approximately 27,000 square feet and will include a 250-seat lecture hall and adjacent multipurpose room capable of seating an additional 200; a dental assisting lab with four operatories, a panoramic camera room, sterilization center and stone lab; a dental clinic, operated by Sea Mar Dental in partnership with PSSC, with five operatories, labs and classroom; a nursing assisting lab with four beds and classroom; and a biomedical lab and classroom.

“This is a great opportunity for students to get training in a growing career field,” said Dr. Thomas Mosby, executive director of career pathways and partnerships.  “We want to thank lawmakers for expanding opportunities for students to enter healthcare careers.”

Skill center construction is funded differently from all other school construction.  Voters must approve a bond to build local schools or make major capital improvements; the state provides about 10% in matching funds after construction is completed. Skill centers are fully-funded directly by the state capital budget.