Butler Technology and Career Development Schools, also known as Butler Tech, is the name adopted in September 2002 by the board of the Butler County Joint Vocational District. The district's original facility, the D. Russel Lee Career-Technology Center, retained its name. A board web site says it provides career education for high school students and adults "at its D. Russel Lee Career-Technology Center and nine associate school districts." The D. Russel Lee Center is at 3603 Hamilton-Middletown Road (Ohio 4) in Fairfield Twp. In September 2002, the JVD purchased 44.6 acres at the northeast intersection of Hamilton-Middletown Road (Ohio 4) and Princeton-Glendale Road (Ohio 747) in Liberty Twp. for construction of an emergency services training center.
Construction began Aug. 19, 2003, on the Public Safety Education Complex, designed to include a 55,000-square-foot classroom building, a 300,000 square foot driving pad, a 20-lane indoor shooting range and a five-story fire and smoke tower. A ribbon cutting at the PSEC, at 5140 Princeton-Glendale Road (Ohio 747) was held Sept. 18, 2004.
D. Russell Lee Vocational School, as it was known then, opened Sept. 3, 1975, with 525 students in the new facility. Cooperating in creating the joint vocational district were the Fairfield, Edgewood, Ross, Lakota, Madison, Talawanda and New Miami school districts. Its purpose, a school brochure said, is to provide high school students and adult enrollees "with a saleable skill so they may be better prepared to enter the world of work."
The school was named for D. Russel Lee, a teacher and, for 35 years, a school superintendent, who promoted and guided formation of the county vocational district while superintendent of the Butler County schools.