High school students in the East Valley will soon be able to study aviation mechanics, airport operations, air traffic control and unmanned flight on a new EVIT campus taking shape in Mesa.
The East Valley Institute of Technology is building a satellite campus near ASU Polytechnic and Chandler-Gilbert Community College's east campus off Power Road. When the campus opens next school year, it will be the hub for EVIT's aviation program, including several new courses, as well as some health programs.
"The flagship programs are centered around aviation," said Superintendent Sally Downey.
Phase one of the new campus includes a 150-seat lecture hall, five conference rooms, eight offices, 28 classrooms or lab areas, and more, in 78,925 square feet.
EVIT already offers an aviation flight program in partnership with CGCC and the University of North Dakota. This year, there are 23 juniors and seniors enrolled, many setting their sights on a private pilot's license.
That program is currently held at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
EVIT's main campus in west Mesa includes training for high school students in culinary arts, early childhood education, automobile mechanics, fire fighting and more.
Phase one of the new EVIT campus will create a central hub for the growing aviation program, said Al Mittelstaedt, a retired Southwest Airlines captain who was brought in this year to boost the curriculum.
"Our primary objective here is to make an aviation education affordable to any high school student who has a passion for aviation. It's gotten extremely expensive," he said.
With the triad agreement between EVIT, CGCC and the University of North Dakota, "We're going to have several four-year degree programs that start right here at EVIT."
Students in the programs pay a lab fee each semester, about $100. Flight school costs about $9,500. Students can also apply for dual enrollment and pay just $71 for a credit hour of community college credit. After EVIT, they can finish an associate's degree at CGCC and with the agreement, all those credits transfer directly to the University of North Dakota.
Downey said she would like to see the entire aviation program grow from the nearly two dozen now enrolled to 300.
The new campus will also house health-career programs. Certified nursing assistant studies will be offered there in August, Downey said.
With about 1,000 students studying a number of health careers, other classes may also be offered at the new satellite.
The goal is to not only have space to expand programs, but to lessen the 45- to 50-minute bus ride some students take from their home campus to EVIT, Downey said.
"For students at Higley High School, the new site is right around the corner," she said.
It'll also be closer for students in the J.O. Combs, Gilbert, Apache Junction and Queen Creek school districts.
"We think kids will want to go to the new campus for a program they can get here and not have to ride the bus," she said.
The main EVIT campus just opened a new building for additional health students. Downey said future class tracks could include physical therapy assistant and occupational therapy assistant. Those are a few years out, she said.
Right now, students who want to get into those programs elsewhere are usually put on a waiting list.
"We'll see what programs are of interest once we get our footprint," at the new campus, she said.