Ex-auto dealership on road to being a mechanics’ school

Dave Hill understands the value of working with your hands — he has been teaching auto shop at South San Francisco High School for the last 28 years.

He also would be the first to tell you that he fully supports the city’s new proposal to create a vocational program for the next generation of auto mechanics.

“I see a great need in getting people into the industry, because the average technician is five to 10 years away from retirement,” Hill said.

The vocational program is the latest idea of South San Francisco officials who are eager to put the recently acquired Ron Price Motors building at 1 Chestnut Ave. to good use.

Councilmember Rich Garbarino proposed the idea to the South San Francisco Unified School District.

“I think it’s too good of a facility to not do anything with,” he said. “There are so many people who can’t find work because they don’t have a skill. Vocational education is sorely lacking.”

City officials have been brainstorming how to use more than 16 acres of land recently purchased for $27 million, which includes the Ron Price Motors building.

Cheryl Milner, the district’s assistant superintendent for educational services, said the idea of converting the old car dealership into a vocational program sounds interesting, but details need to be worked out.

“All of our vocational education courses could use additional support,” she said.

David Lee, manager of Precision Auto Body in South City, said it would be helpful to have an auto-shop school in the area — students usually get training at Skyline College or one of the private technical schools in the Bay Area.

“It’s not a bad idea because not everyone can become a rocket scientist,” the mechanic said.

svasilyuk@sfexaminer.com

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