Marine Systems student Anna Casey Witte practices wiring her electrical board. She plans to use her new skills on her families’ fishing operation in Bristol Bay, as well as crabbing in Puget Sound. (Photo courtesy of Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding)

Marine Systems student Anna Casey Witte practices wiring her electrical board. She plans to use her new skills on her families’ fishing operation in Bristol Bay, as well as crabbing in Puget Sound. (Photo courtesy of Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding)

Boatbuilding school breaks ground on new facility

Multi-use shop will allow program to double in size

PORT HADLOCK — The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding has broken ground on a 4,800-square-foot building that will house classrooms and workshop space.

A ceremony was conducted last Thursday for the new building, which will allow the school to double its enrollment in the Marine Systems program starting next spring.

The new Marine Systems Shop is being built by Brent Davis Construction, a local firm that refurbished the school’s waterfront shops last year. Brent is a Boat School alumnus from 1997, said Betsy Davis, the executive director of the school, in a press release.

Funding is coming from the state Legislature ($464,000), The Norcliffe Foundation ($235,000), and Duke and Jeanne Shold ($70,000).

With the project, the school has invested more than $2.5 million in improvements to its 7-acre campus since 2015, Davis said.

“The new Marine Systems program has exceeded our expectations in providing a path to living-wage jobs for both young people who are facing escalating costs of higher education and people seeking retraining — all while meeting a critical need for skilled workers in the maritime trades from Port Townsend to Port Angeles to Seattle and beyond,” Davis said.

“In combination with the school’s boatbuilding programs, this expands the school’s capacity to provide accredited vocational training to over 700 students over the next decade, along with providing shorter-term advanced-skill training to over 300 local tradespeople in the same period.”

Tom Drews studied both contemporary boatbuilding and marine systems at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. Today he’s a field service engineer at SP Systems in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Tom Drews)

Tom Drews studied both contemporary boatbuilding and marine systems at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. Today he’s a field service engineer at SP Systems in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Tom Drews)

The custom-designed building will be able to accommodate a wide range of disciplines, including marine electrical, corrosion, plumbing, heating and cooling, hydraulics, outboard engines, diesel engines and steering and propulsion, Davis said.

Local designer Guy Hupy’s building plans include a poured concrete slab foundation, stick-framed, insulated walls, and an engineered truss roof. Large overhead garage doors will allow staff and students to transport training mock-ups, boats and other materials in and out of the shop, Davis said.

Chief Instructor Sean Koomen credited Marine Systems Lead Instructor Kevin Ritz for his contributions to curriculum design and delivery.

“Kevin’s knowledge of the field, network of industry experts and excellence as an instructor has elevated all our programs,” Koomen said. “His commitment to the craft of marine systems has influenced dozens of students to study marine systems, as well as boat building, because having knowledge of both makes them more complete problem solvers and boat builders.”

Davis credits state Reps. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend, and Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, in addition to Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, for their work in getting legislative support for the project.

__________

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 360-385-2335, ext. 5.

More in News

Forks couple accused of rape of foster child

Two longtime Forks foster parents are awaiting arraignment Friday on… Continue reading

EYE ON JEFFERSON: County to consider Comprehensive Plan amendment docket

The three Jefferson County commissioners will consider a final docket of annual… Continue reading

EYE ON CLALLAM: Proposed charter change prompted by 5G concerns

Peninsula Daily News Clallam County commissioners will receive a Charter Review Commission… Continue reading

Port Angeles council views non-motorized travel projects

Talks about pedestrian, bicycle access and safety

Sequim council to consider changes to appeals process

Saturday special meeting stems from MAT hearing decision

Fairview Grange hosts flea market fundraiser

Booth spaces available for $20

Port Angeles superintendent holds weekly virtual luncheon

Discussion on the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association

Most Read