In early 2018, the Amarillo Independent School District embarked on an ambitious plan to transform the 231,000-square-foot former Hastings store on Plains Boulevard into a state-of-the-art campus of the future. Today, the District unveiled the school’s name: AmTech Career Academy.
“This has certainly been a labor of love,” said AISD Superintendent Doug Loomis. “After sorting through almost 500 names submitted by more than 800 students, parents, staff and community members, we worked with our branding agency to come up with AmTech Career Academy. It was immediately embraced by everyone involved, and we’re thrilled to move to the next stage of communicating all of the amazing things AmTech will bring to the city and beyond.”
AmTech Career Academy, or AmTech, combines “Amarillo” as a nod to the strong community ties, as well as “Technology” to emphasize the cutting-edge technological components featured in the new school. It also includes “Career Academy” from the initial working name, Amarillo Career Academy, because the school’s leadership team and District stakeholders felt that the programs offered will prepare any student for any career.
“AmTech Career Academy is the pinnacle of innovation in education,” said Jay Barrett, current principal of Amarillo Area Center for Advanced Learning and future principal of AmTech. “Not only is the campus unlike any other school around, but the way we’re approaching education is different. We have created ‘Visiting Professional Symposia,’ a learning space filled by local professionals who will breathe life into our students’ career aspirations by conducting weekly hour-long seminars in the over 30 different pathways we offer at AmTech. We will operate more like a college, with no bells, comfortable student-centered collaborative learning spaces, and multiple opportunities for students to gain work-based learning experience.”
In addition to a new way of teaching and learning, AmTech has features not found in typical high schools, including:
A 3,500-square-foot robot and drone coliseum for classwork and competitions.
An advanced mechatronics “Smart Factory” which will mimic the use of robotics in factories.
A complete audio-visual and video production studio where students will produce content for their classes, local businesses, and even local TV stations. Students will also be able to display their work on two 30-foot video boards anchoring the campus.
An Anatomage Theater with the most advanced anatomy visualization system typically only seen in colleges and universities. The Anatomage Table, used by students in the Schools of Medical Arts and Animal Sciences, contains a virtual library of both human and animal cadavers, as well as a clinical diagnostic tool by visualization of any Medical CT, CBCT or MRI scan.
A world-class culinary program with a bistro and coffee shop where students can grab breakfast or lunch. The Culinary Arts program will also offer local businesses and organizations the opportunity to host meetings and events in its 200-seat banquet hall.
A state-of-the-art auto tech and collision repair center, which will offer services in these areas to local residents.
A career center where students can meet with counselors and prospective employers, participate in activities to gain and improve employability skills and map out future educational and career options.
Multiple collaboration spaces and learning hubs, enabling students to work together on team projects and interact outside of class.
A Junior Achievement Biztown and Financial Park for elementary and middle school students to learn civics, business management and finance.
“We see AmTech as our opportunity to strengthen the workforce in Amarillo and the surrounding areas for generations to come,” continued Loomis. “This facility and everyone involved are giving students the chance to really explore their passions, their interests and various career paths, all while learning in the most advanced environment possible. We are so thrilled to bring AmTech to our community.”
Thirty-five pathways will be taught within the nine major programs:
The School of Animal Science
The School of Architecture, Construction & Manufacturing
The School of Business, Marketing & Finance
The School of Culinary Arts
The School of Law & Public Service
The School of Medical Arts
The School of Media Arts
The School of STEM & Information Technology
The School of Transportation Technology