STEUBENVILLE – Steubenville City Schools is planning a major expansion of its STEM program, a 28,000 square foot downtown building that will be connected to the high school by a walkway.
The $ 12 million project will include a fully equipped learning center as well as a greenhouse. The water and sewer pipes will be modernized in the project area.
“We are really delighted to have (obtain) a state-of-the-art facility” said Shana Wydra, director of STEM and vocational and technical training for SCS. “We currently offer 10 high school technology career programs, some of our classrooms have two to three technology programs running (on the same classroom).
“Not only will they get the best program, but they will also get state-of-the-art equipment in their field to prepare them, (including) updated flight simulators for aviation, logistics simulators for the global logistics program and technology. cutting edge for health informatics program.
Key to their plans is the acquisition of the former YWCA and Salvation Army properties on Fourth Street next to the high school, and it’s already underway: Superintendent Melinda Young said they were within walking distance. days of the YWCA shutting down and they had a purchase agreement for the Salvation Army property.
SCS has previously asked the Planning and Zoning Board to rezone these properties, along with a handful of other plots, including several vacant lots it owns on Fourth Street and in Commercial Alley, in the Central Business District (B -1) in the Public and Semi-public District (P).
They also asked council to consider releasing Dock Street between Fourth and Third Streets.
Young people and other school officials see the project as “a game changer, not only for the school system but also for the city center.”
“These are well-paying jobs”, Young said, “So it is not necessary for our young people to leave Steubenville.”
Steubenville High School principal Ted Gorman said he gives students “Opportunities that they would have nowhere else”.
“Really, our goal is to create opportunities that would keep the people we educate here and give back to our city,” he told the council earlier this week.
School officials say STEM skills – science, technology, engineering, and math – are in high demand in today’s workforce: Employers want workers who grasp complex issues, understand technology and can solve the problems. They say SHS’s STEM programs are merging a “Rigorous academic core with stimulating project work and cutting-edge technology” in their chosen career path.
“The STEM program leverages technology, data and communication by instilling in a new generation the knowledge, imagination and flexibility to successfully solve complex problems in a data-rich digital world.” school officials said. “Unlike traditional learning classes, all STEM programs place a strong emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ in which students engage in hands-on classroom and virtual activities to solve real-world problems. “
They say STEM workers earn an average of $ 87,000 per year.
“Students can actually be certified in a STEM field and have a two-year degree by the time they graduate from high school,” Young told the planning committee last week. “We have students who have already graduated and are making $ 40 an hour. “
SCS currently offers a range of programs, including aerospace engineering and aviation; from farm to fork (agriculture); global logistics and supply chain management; outdoor learning; Health informatics; hydroponics; innovation, science and technology; machining and CAD; makerspace; and multimedia design.
They would like to add things like biomedical science, environmental sustainability, phlebotomy and pharmacy technician programs, with a state-of-the-art health clinic, but Wydra said they plan to be flexible.
“We are very excited” she said. “We love our children, we love our students. They are awesome. We just want to give them the best programming so that they can have good paying jobs and stay in the area.
“Everything is based on the interest of the students, what is happening in the region,” she said, pointing out that they are designing the building “So that can change over time. “
They’ve developed programs that build on Steubenville’s proximity to the area near Pittsburgh International Airport – think FedEx Ground and, potentially, Amazon, as well as the Wal-Mart distribution center. With so many major healthcare facilities within a 60 mile radius, the healthcare informatics program was an obvious progression.
“With the new building, we are really excited because we want to put in place a more sustainable agricultural program”, said Wydra. “Right now we have a great program at McKinley STEM and we have a great interest in high school in agriculture and sustainable energy, but we don’t have the space for that. This will give us a dedicated space to set up an agricultural program.
“The other part is the biomedical program – which would allow our students to learn how to diagnose different research diseases and treatments, and with … our CAD program, they could learn how to build prototypes of prostheses … c is at the cutting edge of technology “, She adds.
They currently have more than 300 students pursuing a technology career path, she said. Growing the program means “To be able to offer more programs and provide our students with jobs in the area so they don’t have to leave Steubenville.”
“We have student interest, we have staff buy-in – we just need space” she said.
If all goes according to plan, SCS could lead the way in March and the STEM building could be operational in 2023.