Pioneer Technology Center History
The vote to establish Pioneer Area Vo-Tech school was March 9, 1971 with 3.528 in favor of the proposition and 296 against it. It was one of the largest turnouts for a school election in many years. Kay County voters showed their enthusiasm for the school as they voted to approve an operational fund 3 ½ mill levy at the polls in May 1972. The vote was 1,732 to 239.
Other activities during this preliminary period included zoning the county for election of board members and their subsequent election. During this time, Pioneer Area Vocational Technical School was the official name given to the facility.
Pioneer Technology Center officially opened in August 1974 under the name Pioneer Area Vocational-Technical School District No. 13 with first board of education members Larry Cannon, president, Carl Balcer, member, Ralph Lester, member, and Dr. James Kirk, member. Dr. James Carpenter was the first superintendent for Pioneer Area Vocational Technical School.
Although the building was not completed, Vo-Tech board members voted in January 1973 to proceed on schedule with a proposed Licensed Practical Nursing program for the fall term. A $40,000 budget was approved and a director was hired. Arrangements were made with Blackwell General Hospital for classes to be held there with on-the-job training to be conducted at both Ponca City Hospital and Blackwell General Hospital.
Substantial completion of the building was recognized in late June 1974, with the board accepting the building July 1, 1974.
A full complement of teachers for day classes was hired during the summer months with instructors reporting for duty August 1. School officially began August 26, 1974 although the LPN class had been held at the facility since the July completion.
In 1980, Pioneer Area Vo-tech added 25,000 square feet to its existing 74,500 square feet of floor space. The new addition included five new shop areas and a student break area. Total enrollment for the fall classes at that time was 943 students. Of that number, 444 students were full or half time students in day classes and 499 area adults enrolled in part-time (short-term evening classes).
In 1990, Pioneer Technology Center held a groundbreaking for the business assistance center and incubator. Although some of the programs in the business assistance center were already in place, the business incubator provided an added benefit to area entrepreneurs looking for a place to start. The client-based programs like the small business management, self-employment training, and bid assistance program started in 1988 and 1989.
In 2004, Pioneer Tech began offering flexible classroom hours and teaching formats for the Practical Nursing program. This flexible format is available during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. Students have the flexibility to work through the program at their own pace with up to 24 months for completion. Students are encouraged to complete the program in 12 – 14 months; however, based on individual needs more or less time may be required.
In 2012 Pioneer Tech renovated and added an additional 26,000 square feet calling it the Health Wing, which housed all health careers on campus.
The Summer of 2019 an Emergency Services Training Center was built on the Northeast corner of the campus. It opened for training in August of that year.
Today, approximately 500 students attend Pioneer Technology Center in full-time programs each year. Also, over 8,000 individuals take advantage of our Adult Training and Development and/or business and industry services training programs on an annual basis. The school employs approximately 97 full-time employees; and many short-term instructors.