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It took nearly a decade, but the new Manatee Technical Institute is finally open.

Construction of the new Manatee County School District building wrapped up recently. On Tuesday, MTI opened the doors of its new east campus building to students.

“I think it’s a very beautiful facility,” student Domenick Vellone said. “It’s more convenient.”

Vellone and his classmates said they were thrilled to come back from winter break to a brand new campus. The new 210,000 square foot building is located off of State Road 70 in Bradenton.

It features a modern look that houses more than 40-programs under one roof.

“We were in a facility 50 years old and that was was wonderful 50 years ago,” MTI director Mary Cantrell said. “It had kind of seen it’s day and this is so state-of-the-art.”

Cantrell said the new school came at a big price. It cost more than $44 million. But, she said the payoff is worth it.

“If we want companies to come here, they have to know they can get skilled workers,” Cantrell said. “That’s what our job is, to prepare skilled workers.”

At MTI, programs like digital video, computer networking, auto and marine mechanics, cosmetology, and culinary arts are offered. New programs at the new building include collision repair and refinishing, baking and pastry arts, and digital video production.

This new building is not just for students and staff.  It’s also open to the public.  The school has a cafeteria, fine dining restaurant as well as cosmetology program, which are open to the community.

It’s a relationship school leaders said will improve the students’ skills and get them ready for success.

The original MTI West campus will remain open. However, it will only house high school students and some basic programs.

A grand opening is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 3 p.m. The public is invited.

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