The Port of Tacoma and Tacoma Public Schools have formally agreed to work together through an interlocal agreement, a major step toward possibly developing a new maritime skills center and a port maritime center, it was announced March 24.
The agreement has been about a year in the making, when the Tacoma Public Schools began looking into the potential of creating a maritime skills center for not only high school students in Tacoma but throughout Pierce County.
Meanwhile, the port was also in talks about how to proceed with a new maritime center for port business activities.
“In conversations with Superintendent (Joshua) Garcia, we realized there was a natural synergy between our plans and locating the new skills center at the port would be a great fit,” port Executive Director Eric Johnson said.
“Working to prepare future generations to fill jobs in the port, maritime and skilled trades industries is a key priority,” he added.
The agreement allows the two entities to start on the project’s first phrase, which involves “the feasibility of a progressive design-build process, conducting site condition assessments to find a suitable parcel of port-owned property, issuing an RFQ/RFP for a design-build firm, and planning a public involvement process,” according to the port.
“Our students are the future, and we have an obligation to help prepare them for life after graduation, but we can’t do it alone, that’s why this partnership opportunity with the Port of Tacoma is not only exciting, it is essential,” Tacoma Public Schools Board President Elizabeth Bonbright said.