COOLIDGE — The Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology, like all schools in the area, is currently transitioning out of the pandemic and back to full-time, in-person learning. But CAVIT is also planning for a broader adjustment to account for regional learning needs, including new courses and classrooms for the next school year.

During a board meeting on Wednesday, Superintendent Mike Glover discussed CAVIT’s strategic plans, preparation for the next accreditation cycle and how the school could continue to be a valuable resource for the county.

“Pinal County is such an evolving workforce area,” Glover said. “There are employers that were not here five years ago. It’s the goal of myself and Assistant Principal Stacey Rich that, as enrollment keeps growing and people ask us about new businesses, we have a plan of where we are going.”

With the increase in enrollment, CAVIT is nearly doubling the number of programs available next year, from eight to 17. New programs for next year include criminal justice, behavioral health and drone technology.

The classrooms will cost $2.1 million and are expected to be completed by September. Glover said the multipurpose designs for the two spaces allow each to be bisected to create four classrooms if needed.

As part of a shift to an updated five-year strategic plan, CAVIT conducted a survey over the winter for stakeholders — parents, students, staff, partner schools — and a virtual input meeting on April 1, where about a dozen community leaders offered suggestions for how CAVIT could improve.

According to Glover, the results showed a desire for a continued effort by CAVIT to provide students with opportunities relevant to current workforce needs, including career guidance.

Glover said that some issues were the result of pandemic restrictions and would be fixed in the coming school year.

“It’s been a challenge,” Glover said. “Students could not do industry tours, or go into clinics and hospitals, all of those things during COVID. But we’ve done really good with that, and we were on the right track with what we were attempting to do before last March.”

Currently, CAVIT has partnerships with 12 area high schools, and dual enrollment programs with local community colleges. CAVIT and Central Arizona College have partnered on programs including fire science, massage therapy and nursing, while CAVIT now has agreements with Pima Community College for cosmetology, dental law and veterinary science programs.

The CAVIT board also approved hiring two new teachers, Jason Hall and Ann Marie Lee, for the coming year, and will be hiring a drone technology instructor. The school’s 2021-26 Strategic Plan will come up for approval in June.

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Aaron Dorman is a reporter covering Coolidge and the surrounding area. He can be reached at adorman@pinalcentral.com.