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Sunnyside voc-tech proponents ready for Washington D.C. trip

In an effort to find additional funding for the proposed $10 million Sunnyside Vocational Technology Center, a delegation of local proponents will travel to Washington D.C. next week.

Headed to the nation's capital are Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole, Sunnyside Mayor Ed Prilucik and City Manager Bob Stockwell, along with Rado Harrington, executive director of the Sunnyside Economic Development Association.

The delegation, which met with Sunnyside business leaders Wednesday morning, discussed the next steps in planning for the center, which will be located on Sunnyside Port District property, according to Dr. Cole.

"We will be meeting with Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, as well as Representative Doc Hastings, seeking federal funds to proceed with the center," Cole said.

In addition to seeking funds for the voc-tech center, Prilucik, Stockwell and Harrington will be seeking federal aid for several city projects, including downtown revitalization and city transportation needs.

"We will also be seeking financial aid to fund infrastructure needs at the Monson feedlot property," said Harrington.

The city will be asking for roughly $2.5 million to move ahead with development of the Monson site, he added.

Additionally, the city is also seeking funds for improvements at city exits and along Yakima Valley Highway, Harrington added.

The delegation will be in Washington D.C. June 21-23, said Cole.

In the meantime, voc-tech proponents are moving ahead with plans to investigate the types of programs the center will initially offer, Cole explained.

The group is now working on the first phase of curriculum development of the center. "We expect to develop medical technology, mechanical and construction related courses designed to meet the needs of local employers," Cole explained

As part of the marketing of the center, Cole said an agreement among nine Lower Valley school districts has been reached to support the center.

The committee also formed a subcommittee to investigate funding options, which includes next week's trip to seek federal funds, he added.

"We hope to obtain at least $1 million to use as seed money for the center's development," Cole explained.

He said the voc-tec center committee will meet again July 13 to review the results of the Washington D.C. trip.

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