NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Work to convert the former Ridgewood High School into Wendell Krinn Technical High School is wrapping up ahead of the first day of classes August 13.

  • Teachers due to return on August 6
  • Some programs will utilize facilities at Marchman Technical College
  • Work expected to be complete August 3

“It is so exciting. I have never seen a greater opportunity for students,” said Dr. Chris Dunning, the school’s principal.

K-Tech will offer a number of programs, including electricity, air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating technology, and commercial art technology.

“Every student that comes here, the plan is for them to be able to walk out of here and go straight into a job or go straight into a four-year university,” Dunning said. 

Less than a week before teachers were due to return on August 6, crews were still putting the finishing touches on some classrooms. Dunning said some work was able to begin in March, with the bulk taking place during summer break.

“Definitely for a 40-year-old facility, there’s pieces we wanted to upgrade, make sure they’re ready for the technology that we have coming in,” Dunning said. 

Some classrooms were gutted and had floors and ceilings replaced. Special ventilation was added in some rooms, as was special wiring where needed.

“It’s pretty much state-of-the-art, if you ask me,” robotics teacher William Alhgrim said of his classroom. “The kids are going to have the ability to build, design, program their robots in this room.”

Robots on display in a classroom at the "new" Wendell Krinn Technical High School, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (Sarah Blazonis, staff)

Aidan Ehrsam, 14, an incoming freshman in K-Tech’s biomedical science/medical lab assistant program, stopped by with his mother, Jodi Ehrsam, two weeks before the start of class to take a look around the building.

“It’s open. It feels a lot more mature,” said Aidan.

“As a parent, we’re very excited about it,” Jodi said of the school. “There’s so many trade fields that people are retiring, there’s not enough people in these fields. So, for them to have this opportunity to learn something in high school and focus on something to keep them interested, I’m very excited.”

For some programs, like those dealing with auto service, students will walk next door to use already existing facilities at Marchman Technical College.

Dunning said work was expected to be complete by August 3.