Salt Lake City's west-side Gateway Project could include a new applied technology center, city and school board officials suggested Tuesday.

"Having a . . . applied technology center in the valley is critical to ensuring our kids have work skills," said Darline Robles, superintendent of the Salt Lake School District.Her comments came in a joint meeting with the Salt Lake Board of Education and City Council.

The gateway ATC would primarily serve youth, said Mike Marelli, director of applied technology education for the school district. The Gateway Project includes replacing train tracks west of downtown Salt Lake City with cultural facilities, a hotel, apartments, shops and offices.

Utah has nine ATC service regions, serving adults and youth and governed by superintendents, college presidents and business representatives.

Salt Lake and Tooele counties are served by the Wasatch Front South ATC, 3031 S. 200 East. But that ATC is unable to handle the demand and each year must turn away up to 700 teens wanting to attend, Marelli said.

The State Board of Education has discussed building two ATCs in the Salt Lake Valley, preferably along the north-south light rail line for increased access, and a satellite ATC attached to Tooele High, confirmed Rob Brems, associate superintendent of applied tech-nol-o-gy education.

"There is not a specific site in mind (in Salt Lake), so these types of ideas are interesting to us," Brems said. "I think that it's very feasible and would make an excellent location."

But there is a drawback. While the gateway area has six parcels spread from North Temple to 900 South near 600 West, the largest is about five acres, Marelli said. ATCs now take up 30 to 50 acres.

"We realize that in the metropolitan area we wouldn't likely be able to have that kind of space," said Brems, adding an ATC there would have to have many stories. "I think five acres would be prohibitively small."

ATCs fall under the State Office of Education. Robles indicated talks with the state office and Salt Lake Community College would be forthcoming.

"I'm interested in seeing that center take place," said city councilman Bryce Jolley. "I'm interested in continuing dialogue on what we can do."