FWCS considering STEAM school at Electric Works


Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools is considering classroom space at Electric Works, the sprawling former General Electric campus being renovated for multi-purpose use.

A letter of intent has yet to be signed, but the vision is for a STEAM school to be operated by FWCS on Electric Works’ west campus, said Kevin Erb of Ferguson Advertising, the local firm working with the development group. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

The letter of intent has to be approved by the district’s board, which Erb said he expected soon.

The idea is in line with past statements by the district. Superintendent Wendy Robinson, accompanied by children from Fairfield Elementary School, was at last year’s announcement revealing plans for the site. District spokeswoman Krista Stockman later said Robinson attended for the education possibilities.

The STEAM school, for grades 6 through 12, would be similar to FWCS’ Career Academy at Anthis, which offers experience in various fields, but would not have the same programs, Stockman said Friday. It would be open not only to FWCS students but to others from public and private schools in northeast Indiana.

The emphasis would be on project-based, hands-on learning, she said, “all those things we’re trying to implement regardless of where our kids are in school so that they can be adaptable and ready for a future work environment that’s going to change rapidly.”

“Even though the students aren’t necessarily directly interacting with the community college and Parkview, it is in the same environment so they do have some interaction and we do have access to other experts nearby when and if we need them,” Stockman said.

Education is a huge component of Electric Works, which would allow for a “holistic, comprehensive experience,” for students in the FWCS program, Erb said. In addition to school “they’re going to be exposed to STEAM curriculum that can be real-world based experiential that’s a really exciting model that we’ve seen in other parts of the country.”

“Even though the students aren’t necessarily directly interacting with the community college and Parkview, it is in the same environment so they do have some interaction and we do have access to other experts nearby when and if we need them,” Stockman said.

Cross Street Partners, a Baltimore firm, is partnering with two Indiana developers on the Electric Works project: Decatur firm Biggs Development, headed by Kevan Biggs, and Indianapolis firm Greenstreet Limited. Plans for the first phase, which would transform the buildings west of Broadway, will cost $214 million.

The overall vision of Electric Works has a district that would provide a hub of innovation, entrepreneurialism, education and research.

Indiana Tech announced in December it intends to lease a portion of the site, which includes plans for residential, retail, office and education space. The school will rent 10,000 square feet on the west side of the campus. Officials said they are exploring options for how to use the space.

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