Located on a 5-acre site in Burien, WA, the Puget Sound Skills Center has been preparing high school students to be career-ready or college-bound upon graduation since 1966. The first skills center in Washington State, it is hosted by Highline Public Schools and partners with three other districts, Federal Way, Tahoma, and Tukwila, to offer 18 distinct career programs with certifications or college credits. In 2016, students from 22 partner high schools taking classes at PSSC earned more than 2,000 college credits and almost 1,700 industry certifications in 18 different programs, including aerospace manufacturing, animation, automotive technology, information technology, culinary arts and more.
The new Health Sciences Building was proposed to replace inadequate and aging program areas and critical infrastructure to support program expansion and set the foundation for future program additions. The 40+ year old main campus facility was showing its age and lacked features and systems common in contemporary educational facilities. Beyond that, the facility was crowded, and the Skill Center’s enrollment was constrained by available space. This new addition welcomes current attendees, attracts prospective students, and provides an inspiring space to encourage students to adopt a professional attitude and outlook as they transition to healthcare professionals.
This new Heath Sciences Building provides students the opportunity to learn in contemporary classrooms with cutting edge equipment, in place of their past ad hoc and makeshift installations. Students are able to observe and intern in a state-of-the-art dental clinic, and the new building, dedicated to the pursuit of careers centered in the medical industry, has attracted the attention of new industry partners such as the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. Lacking within their current campus, the administration also desired an indoor and outdoor student commons for studying, collaboration, activities, informal gathering, and waiting between class sessions. With the transition of three programs and the SeaMar Dental Clinic into the new building, space has been freed up within the existing facility for surge classrooms during future modernizations of the main campus building.