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New Gainesville High Advanced Studies Center ready to prepare students for careers
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Gainesville High's new Advanced Studies Center is ready for students Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. The 43,000-square-foot building is part of Gainesville High’s $55 million improvement project. The building houses the school’s career, technical and agricultural education programs, in addition to higher level classes such as Advanced Placement biology and chemistry. - photo by Scott Rogers

A new Advanced Studies Center will soon open to Gainesville High School students.

The center serves as the “focal point” for the revamping and modernization of the 60-year-old campus, Superintendent Jeremy Williams said. A new cafeteria and media center are also under construction.

The 43,000-square-foot building features 12 science labs and is primarily dedicated to Career, Technology, Agriculture and Education. It will provide the space and means for students who want to pursue careers in a variety of fields, from manufacturing to food science, though it will also house Advanced Placement science classes. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center was postponed in mid-July, but it will now be replaced by a community open house 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Sept. 7, according to Williams. 

Williams said the ribbon cutting was initially postponed because of shipment delays for furniture and equipment, such as table saws and sawdust collectors to be used by students. 

“The building has been ready,” Williams said. “We decided to punt the ribbon cutting because there were a couple of deliveries that were just not going to come in on time. They have since been delivered and everything is ready, but trying to do a ribbon cutting when you're trying to open school is usually not a good idea.” 

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Gainesville High's new Advanced Studies Center is ready for students Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. The 43,000-square-foot building is only part of a $55 million improvement project at the school. The building houses the school’s career, technical and agricultural education programs, in addition to higher level classes such as Advanced Placement biology and chemistry. - photo by Scott Rogers

Gainesville schools are implementing a staggered start to the school year, with some students returning on Aug. 11 and the rest on Aug. 13. 

Students will have the opportunity to connect with close to 100 different local employers, Williams said, which may involve internships with local construction and agricultural companies, and even restaurants. 

“So it’s just kind of our workforce development centerpiece to how we connect beyond the high school,” Williams said. “It’s a result of our community collaborations when it comes to work-based learning opportunities that we provide to our students with a large lot of partnerships across the city and the county. It's an opportunity to showcase what professions are here in Gainesville that we can send our kids into.” 

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Gainesville High's food science instructor Phyllis Mance closes cabinet doors Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, inside the school's new 43,000-square-foot Advanced Studies Center building. The building houses the school’s career, technical and agricultural education programs, in addition to higher level classes such as Advanced Placement biology and chemistry. - photo by Scott Rogers

The center was approved by the board of education in February 2018 and cost about $9 million. The funding is from a combination of sales tax revenues earmarked for education, state funding from the Department of Education and a bond referendum that was passed in June 2020. Construction was overseen by Carroll Daniel Construction. 

Other career development courses — such as audio and video production, business and marketing, law and public safety and early childhood education — will not be housed in the new center, Williams said. Instead, those courses will find space in a new three-story building that will replace the old cafeteria, with construction expected to wrap up “hopefully no later than January of 2024,” Williams said. 

“So all of our workforce development pathways will have a new home when our campus is complete,” Williams said, adding that the new center represents the ever-growing importance of career development for students in the school district. 

The Advanced Studies Center “shows our students in our community that we are the future of the workforce,” Williams said. “We can teach all day long, but we have to keep in mind that all of these kids are going to be adults and be part of a community, and we have to ensure that we're preparing them for that.” 


Gainesville schools are implementing a staggered start to the school year, with some students returning on Aug. 11 and the rest on Aug. 13. 

Students will have the opportunity to connect with close to 100 different local employers, Williams said, which may involve internships with local construction and agricultural companies, and even restaurants. 

“So it’s just kind of our workforce development centerpiece to how we connect beyond the high school,” Williams said. “It’s a result of our community collaborations when it comes to work-based learning opportunities that we provide to our students with a large lot of partnerships across the city and the county. It's an opportunity to showcase what professions are here in Gainesville that we can send our kids into.” 

The center was approved by the board of education in February 2018 and cost about $9 million. The funding is from a combination of sales tax revenues earmarked for education, state funding from the Department of Education and a bond referendum that was passed in June 2020. Construction was overseen by Carroll Daniel Construction. 

Other career development courses — such as audio and video production, business and marketing, law and public safety and early childhood education — will not be housed in the new center, Williams said. Instead, those courses will find space in a new three-story building that will replace the old cafeteria, with construction expected to wrap up “hopefully no later than January of 2024,” Williams said. 

“So all of our workforce development pathways will have a new home when our campus is complete,” Williams said, adding that the new center represents the ever-growing importance of career development for students in the school district. 

The Advanced Studies Center “shows our students in our community that we are the future of the workforce,” Williams said. “We can teach all day long, but we have to keep in mind that all of these kids are going to be adults and be part of a community, and we have to ensure that we're preparing them for that.”