PHOENIXVILLE >> The start of a new school year isn’t the only thing new at the Technical College High School (TCHS) Pickering Campus. Located in Phoenixville, the school is in its final renovation phase. The school has undergone a significant renovation project over the past year which has transformed TCHS Pickering into a cutting-edge career & technical education facility.
Dr. Kirk Williard, the director of Career, Technical & Customized Education at the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), feels that this renovation was necessary to help keep students at TCHS Pickering Campus competitive. “We are extremely excited to offer the students of northern Chester County access to a space that is truly a state-of-the-art career and technical campus. The programs were developed with input from our Occupational Advisory Committees (OAC), which is made up of industry experts,” said Williard.
“The advantage of utilizing the input of our industry partners allowed us to create an environment that ensures that our students are prepared for the highly technical and skill-oriented world that awaits them upon graduation,” Williard added.
TCHS Pickering Campus has launched four new programs that reside in program spaces created during the extensive renovations. The Digital Media & Sound Communication program has a modern sound-proof recording studio, production equipment, recording equipment and a post-production editing software lab.
Michael Katch, current interim principal, has already seen how this brand-new space has boosted the Digital Media & Sound Communication program. “Since September, the number of students in this program has quadrupled. I think the program resonated with a lot of students in northern Chester County who have a passion for digital media. I believe that having a state-of-the-art studio has helped prospective students see the possibilities available to them and how TCHS Pickering can give them access to technologies that put them at the forefront of this industry,” said Katch.
Similar to Digital Media & Sound Communications, the Engineering & Automated Manufacturing and the Precision CNC Machining programs have brand new spaces with the latest equipment. These two programs have been added to the offerings at TCHS Pickering due to the high demand for skilled, STEM-oriented workers needed to sustain the vibrant advanced manufacturing industry in northern Chester County.
Dr. Angela King, dean of students at TCHS Pickering, sees the newly renovated campus as a bridge between the advanced manufacturing industry and the northern Chester County community. “Advanced manufacturing is a STEM career pathway with deep roots in northern Chester County. These are great-paying jobs with opportunities for growth. Advanced manufacturing is an extremely technical, clean career pathway that sustains so many different parts of our day-to-day lives. We want to help connect students, parents and displaced workers with industry partners to really see the opportunities available in this industry,” said King.
The final new program, Robotics & Avionics, will feature an actual Cessna 310 airplane that will give students hands-on experience working on an aircraft. In addition, the program curriculum features a fully-integrated flight simulator. This program opens STEM career pathways in the avionics, engineering and robotics industry.
TCHS Pickering held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 20 to celebrate the grand reopening of the school which brought together representatives from the CCIU Board, the Chester County School Authority, U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, state Rep. Warren Kampf, R-157, local school district representatives, industry partners, CCIU staff and TCHS students, parents and alumni to preview the newly renovated building.
TCHS Pickering will open its newly renovated facilities to the public Dec. 4 starting at 6 p.m. when it will host an open house featuring a panel