Former South High School announced as future site.
By Mark McGregor, Staff Writer
Springfield City Board of Education members agreed Thursday to partner with two local higher educations institutions and a regional development group to create the much anticipated Global Impact STEM Academy, to be housed at the shuttered South High School.
The school board’s 4-0 decision came just days before the expected ceremonial signing of the nonprofit science, technology, engineering and mathematics academy’s articles of incorporation, scheduled for Monday night at South High School. Board Member Jamie Callan was absent.
“We want to invite all the public, this whole community, to come and see the ceremonial signing of the documents that’s going to create the new Global Impact STEM Academy that will be housed in that building,” Superintendent David Estrop said.
“Obviously we’re pleased that we’ve been able to find a way to save a marvelous, old historic building, as well as contribute to the economic development of our community, both the downtown area and the area immediately adjacent to South,” he said. “And more importantly, be able to do so in a manner that creates more opportunities for our children and better jobs for our children.”
Springfield Promise Neighborhood Project Director Bob Welker applauded the board for its decision.
“We just need a round of applause for this amazing moment with this resolution that you just passed that’s going to create this STEM school. This is a huge deal for our community,” he said. “I work in that area adjacent to (South) and it’s given us a lot of hope. It’s going to be a healing moment in our community.”
The academy has been under discussion since State Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, pitched the idea in January.
Representatives from partners Springfield City Schools, Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the Dayton Development Coalition — serving as the regional partner of JobsOhio — are expected to be on hand to sign the articles of incorporation at Monday’s event.
The education board also appointed Leventhal and board member Wanda Truss or their designees to the STEM academy’s inaugural board of directors.
The academy’s board of directors would consist of 13 members, including the president or designee each from Clark State Community College and Wright State University, and the superintendent or designee from Springfield City School District, according to the articles of incorporation.
Each institution would also have two sitting board members and an employer/business executive selected by their respective organizations. The Dayton Development Coalition — serving as the regional partner of JobsOhio — will have one board member.
South High School had been pushed by officials as a possible location for the academy, but had not been previously confirmed as the official site, according to Springfield News-Sun records. The academy would occupy about 70,000 square feet of South and renovate the space using about $4.5 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission and about $4.5 million in raised funds.
Officials hope to open the academy in the fall of 2013 with an inaugural group of about 200 students in ninth and 11th grades. They said it would be the first of its kind in Ohio and is expected to receive guidance and support from The Ohio State University, The Ohio Farm Bureau, Battelle Memorial Institute and agriscience businesses.
“It’s a huge leap of faith for a lot of people to go forward with a program like this and it shows the confidence that everyone has in the potential that we have here in Springfield,” school board Vice President Donna Picklesimer said. “With the full partnership it will allow this to go forward in a very vigorous way but still allow us back here to stay focused on what’s important.” Read More...
What: Formal signing for the Global Impact STEM Academy
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
Where: South High School, Tiffany Gynmasium, 700 S. Limestone St.
Who: State Sen. Chris Widener, representatives from Springfield City Schools, Clark State Community College, Wright State University, Dayton Development Coalition serving as the regional partner of JobsOhio and Springfield High School students demonstrating soybean-based projects.