FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The Fort Wayne Community Schools’ board approved a 10-year lease for the development of a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) high school at Electric Works.
Building 31, formerly an office building built in 1942 during General Electric’s rapid growth during World War II, will house the new STEAM school, with approximately 25,000 square feet on Swinney Avenue. It will be one of only a handful of schools nationwide focused on the STEAM disciplines and established in an active mixed-use district, connecting students to career pathways alongside entrepreneurs, innovators and mentors.
The historic, two-story building will provide students hands-on and project-based learning through a personalized, immersive learning environment. Through partnerships with local and regional employers, the school will be based on a model of industry-focused experiential learning and – by developing a new generation of skilled talent – work to transition graduates to college and / or to high-tech, high-wage jobs.
The school’s innovative design will forgo the traditional classroom setting, instead featuring ample collaborative and group-study spaces, as well as dedicated, high-tech lab studios for programs focused on entrepreneurship / business, animation / computer technology, agriculture technology, and digital music.
“Our STEAM school at Electric Works will be vitally important in strengthening our ability to connect the education our students receive with real-world application and effect,” said Julie Hollingsworth, president of the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees. “Electric Works provides a unique and inspiring opportunity for our students to be as close as possible to the industries and careers they’re studying.”
“The STEAM school is part of a continuum of education opportunities that are critical to realizing this community’s vision of Electric Works as a district of innovation and opportunity,” added Jeff Kingsbury of RTM Ventures, the development team behind Electric Works. “Quality public education is critical to any community’s economic development strategy. As we partner with Fort Wayne Community Schools to leverage public and private funding to deliver this unique model of experiential learning for the families of Fort Wayne, we are grateful for Dr. Wendy Robinson’s leadership and the board’s commitment.”
The STEAM school is planned to open with the Electric Works west campus in 2022.