The first classes in Brainerd's Area Vocational-Technical school were held in the fall of 1964. Now, only seven years later, that school is hoping to expand its facilities double size for the second time since its recent origin.
A bond issue for vocational education was passed in Brainerd in 1953, but it wasn't until 10 years later that the State of Minnesota designated the city as a site for an Area Vocational-Technical school.
Harry Nysather was named as director of a Technical division of the Community college in 1964, but in July of that same year, a State Junior College Board took over junior colleges and vocational education stayed under the local school board.
In the fall of 1964, 87 students enrolled in six courses -- dental assisting, junior accounting, merchandising, practical nursing, retail floristry and secre-tarial science.
The following year, bids of nearly half a million for construction of a Vocational-Technical school were rejected, new specifications drawn and bids were let in August. Work started in September of 1965 on a $449,907 building.
First classes were held in the new school' in the fall of 1966, and shortly thereafter, plans were made for an addition almost doubling the original size of the school.
This addition is presently underway at a cost of some $750,000. Both federal and state grants are assisting in the construction which will allow for the teaching of five new programs as well as expand the offerings of four other courses.
Now, $600,000 is sought again to almost double the building to accommodate the students wishing to enroll. Over 500 students are expected to attend the Area Vocational-Technical school next fall, along with more then 300 enrolled through high school affiliated programs and over 1,000 in adult evening school offerings.
Again, there will be federal and state help available for the expansion.
Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).