Elaine Koike and other fellow students learn how to use software to enhance photographs in the computer lab at the Huntington Beach Adult School on Wednesday. Coast High School and HB Adult School are celebrating having a new building that they share. (SCOTT SMELTZER, HB Independent / January 18, 2012)

A dedication ceremony is scheduled Friday for the new Coast High School and Huntington Beach Adult School building.

The building at 17231 Gothard St. is the new home of the two schools, which share the same space and administration, said Principal Steve Curiel. The schools are part of Huntington Beach Union High School District.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled at 4 p.m. and is open to the public.

Coast is an independent school that allows students to obtain their diploma without having to attend a regular school schedule. The adult school offers a variety of classes, including training for citizenship, English as a second language and pharmacy technician and medical assistant programs, among others, but for much cheaper tuition than private schools, Curiel said.

The new building was paid for by a 2004 bond. Before it was completed, the school rented space from the Ocean View School District, but recent budget cuts led the school to move its adult and independent studies classes to the high school district's campuses for the past two years, Curiel said.

Along with celebrating the new building, the adult school is also celebrating 40 years of service to the community, not only in Huntington Beach, but also for Westminster and Fountain Valley.

The adult school's attendance dwindled from 15,000 to 9,000 because of lack of space after the move, and the district is hoping to increase its attendance. But when it comes to marketing, it can't compete with private schools, Curiel said.

"It's a best-kept secret, but it's not a good thing," Curiel said.

The 12-week pharmacy technician program, for example, only costs $1,250 when compared to the $7,000 a private school might charge for the same thing, Curiel said.

Huntington Beach resident Karen Martin is one of the adult students who recently completed the pharmacy technician program. Before then, she worked as an engineer for Boeing, but was forced to make the switch after losing her job and realizing that she would have to move in order to find another one like it.

She completed the 12-week program Dec. 8, took the national board test Dec. 9 and passed. She's now waiting for the state to fully certify her and hoping to find a job soon.

"It's a really worthwhile program," she said. "I'm very impressed with it."

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia