FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Before the Fort Wayne Community Schools Amp Lab becomes the first thing to open at the Electric Works campus next week, the district held open houses on Tuesday to show it off.
The Amp Lab will be open for 400 students in the 11th and 12th grades who will do half-day entrepreneurship programs when school begins on Wednesday, August 10.
The students will have the opportunity to work directly with businesses in the community to solve problems and address challenges.
The Amp Lab has four studios, one of which was recently sponsored by 3 Rivers Federal Credit Union.
Addressing a crowd of parents and staff prior to opening the doors, FWCS superintendent Mark Daniel described the Amp Lab as “entrepreneurship on steroids.”
Daniel said he’s worked in various parts of the country and has never seen anything like the new Amp Lab.
He believes classrooms no longer have walls and that the community is the classroom. Solving real problems with real businesses in the community is both great experience for students before they move into the real world, and Daniel also sees it as a great opportunity for businesses to take advantage of.
He believes the Amp Lab will become a model for other school districts around the country.
I’m really, really super proud of the staff that we’ve assembled, the fact that this is a private-public partnership, love Electric Works and the energy that we have here, and I truly think we’re going to produce students who are ready for the next level,” Daniel said.
He added that he’s very excited about FWCS, the largest district in the Hoosier state, being the first tenant to open its doors at Electric Works.
The director of the Amp Lab Riley Johnson echoed everything Daniel said. He thinks it’s great that the doors can finally open and students can get hands-on learning that they could never get in a traditional classroom.
“Being entrepreneurial is at the key of innovation,” Johnson said. “We’re excited because kids will really have the opportunity to chase their own dreams.”
While at the open house on Tuesday, WANE 15 met Bruce Lehman, who’s grandson will be one of the students attending courses at the Amp Lab this year.
Lehman said that he and both of his parents worked at that very campus decades ago when it was General Electric.
“To see this is just incredible,” he said. “I mean, I wish my mom and people like that were around to see what the city is doing to what could have just been a rubble pile. Now we have something this spectacular. It’s a wonderful, wonderful asset in Fort Wayne.”
Lehman’s grandson is a senior at Snider High School.