ROANOKE – Alumni are invited to Burton Center for Arts and Technology Open House and 50th anniversary celebration on Thursday October 18th. The campus and classrooms will be open and tours will be offered in celebration from 4:30-7:30 p.m. A Silent Auction will be conducted in support of the programs and refreshments will be served. Media are invited to attend.
This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the many programs currently offered and about the new Governor’s STEM Academy for Roanoke County Public Schools located at Burton.
The Burton Center for Arts & Technology is located at 1760 Boulevard in Salem.
Founded in September, 1962, the Burton Center for Arts and Technology began as the Roanoke County Education Center (RCEC), and was housed in the Roanoke County Schools Administration Building in Salem. Students enrolled in Auto Mechanics, Cosmetology, Drafting, and Electronics.
In 1964, with the Administration Building becoming too small to house RCEC classes, the center moved to the current location on Boulevard in Salem across from East Salem Elementary School. At the time, the center consisted of a single building (currently Building C). Building A was constructed in 1966 and academic courses were added alongside the vocational classes. In 1978, RCEC was renamed the Roanoke County Vocational-Technical School or Vo-Tech, for short. A year later the current Building B was constructed
The school has undergone three more name changes: Arnold R. Burton Vocational-Technical School (Vo-Tech) in 1980, Arnold R. Burton Technology Center (ARBTC) in 1989, and Burton Center for Arts & Technology (BCAT) in 2008. In 2012, the Governor’s STEM Academy was established at BCAT.
In 1962, the school began with 75 students, all 11th and 12th graders. In 1990, student enrollment was 352; today BCAT’s enrollment is about 850 consisting of students from 9th – 12th grades.
Students today take classes in Auto Service Technology, Building Trades, Computer Information Technology, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Early Childhood Education, Floral Design and Landscaping, Game Design, Masonry, Mechatronics, Motorsports, and Welding. Four Specialty Centers offer students classes in Engineering, Mass Communications, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts.
Submitted by Chuck Lionberger