Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | By Global Impact Stem Academies
Partners sign papers to help launch bioscience academy in former South High School building.
An agreement signed Monday will create the state’s first academy to train local students for high-paying jobs in an in-demand field.
The bioscience academy, which will be in the former South High School, will prepare more students for food, fuel and fiber-related careers, which supporters said have high growth but insufficient student turnout.
The nonprofit Global Impact STEM Academy is expected to open next school year. It will be one of only five such schools in the country, officials said.
About 200 residents and community leaders turned out to watch representatives from partners Springfield City Schools, Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the Dayton Development Coalition — serving as the regional representative for JobsOhio — sign the articles incorporating the 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, said the average salary for a bioscience professional is $68,000.
“I’m very pleased to declare tonight the beginning for the next step in STEM education used for job creation and workforce development right here in Springfield, Ohio,” Widener said. “Agriculture, as you know, provides one in seven jobs in this state.”
Start-up and renovation costs to put the academy in 70,000 square feet of the historic former South High will be about $10.5 million, most of which has already been raised through public and private funding.
A required local match to renovate the building is less than a half-million short of the $1.5 million needed, said Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Mike McDorman. He’s confident the funds will be raised by the end of the year.
“We’re working toward the final push to complete that campaign, hopefully by the end of the year,” McDorman said. “I think we’ll achieve the $1.5 million with no problem.”
Half of the estimated $9 million renovation of South High School will be paid for by the Ohio School Facilities Commission and half from the local match and state funding sources. The building will be leased from Springfield City Schools for $1 each year.
Ohio State University and Battelle Memorial Institute will join the lead partners to raise the $3 million still needed for the renovation match.
Those two institutions also pledged $350,000 in start-up funding. It’s expected the state education system will fund most of the $1 million needed in the second year, based on the number of students, Widener said.
“We found these kinds of schools really do produce results for all level students,” Widener said.
No details on the academy’s staffing were available Monday. That will be determined by the curriculum yet to be finalized by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and the Clark County Educational Service Center, Springfield district spokeswoman Kim Fish said.
In June, Widener estimated Global Impact would bring 50 to 60 jobs to the community.
Ohio State University will assist in developing the curriculum, saving the project more money, Widener said.
Founders want to work directly with businesses on internships for students, who also would be involved in project-based, hands-on learning.
The Springfield City Board of Education voted last week to appoint Board President Ed Leventhal and member Wanda Truss to the academy’s inaugural board of directors. Dayton Development Coalition appointed Jeff Hoagland, its president and CEO.
Neither Clark State or Wright State had appointed its board members by Monday night, though representatives were on hand to sign the documents.
The 13-member board will consist of 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 will also have two sitting board members and an employer/business executive appointed by their respective organizations. The Dayton Development Coalition will have one board member.
Widener championed the idea for the school and worked to push it through all year. He said the concept came after he attended a Clark County Farm Bureau meeting where he heard about the need for more agriculture and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
A.B. Graham started the first nation’s 4-H club in Springfield on Jan. 15, 1902.
“But more importantly, A.B. Graham had just a little bigger vision,” Widener said. “Listen to his own words: ‘Elevate the standard of living in Ohio, emphasize the importance of hard work and habits of industry with our young people, acquaint the youth with their environment and scientific investigations, and inspire youth to further education in science.’ Ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
Springfield High School seniors Valarie Sparks, right, and Rachel Adams demonstrate how to make soy-based lip balm as several students demonstrated soy bio-based science projects Monday at a formal signing ceremony creating the Global Impact STEM Academy at South High School. Representatives from Springfield City School District, Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the Dayton Development Coalition were on hand to sign the nonprofit’s articles of incorporation. Staff photo by Bill LackeyView Larger
A formal signing ceremony creating the Global Impact STEM Academy at South High School was held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Representatives from Springfield City School District, Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the Dayton Development Coalition were on hand to sign the nonprofit’s articles of incorporation. Staff photo by Bill LackeyView Larger
Sen. Chris Widener speaks during a formal signing ceremony creating the Global Impact STEM Academy at South High School on Monday. Representatives from Springfield City School District, Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the Dayton Development Coalition were on hand to sign the nonprofit’s articles of incorporation. Staff photo by Bill LackeyBy Mark McGregor
By the numbers
• 200 ninth- and 11th-graders the first year
• 600 ninth- through 12-graders maximum within several years
• 51 districts whose students could attend
• 700 S. Limestone St. in the former South High School
• 70,000 square feet, one third of building’s available space
• 24 to 27 classrooms
• Fall 2013, expected opening
• Estimated $10.5 million total in renovation and start-up costs from various public and private funders
• $9 million in building renovations; half local and state fundraising, and half from Ohio School Facilities Commission
• $1 per year building lease from Springfield City Schools
• Estimated $8,000 per student
• $1.1 million in local renovation match raised from Clark County government, city of Springfield, Dayton Development CoalisionSpringfield and Turner foundations, Port Authority, private companies related to agriculture and bioscience and other public and private entities
• $350,000 in startup pledges from Ohio State University and Battelle Memorial Institute
Remaining funds to be secured
• $400,000 local match remaining for renovations
• $3 million from a variety of agiscience companies and others for renovations
• State education funding
• Number and average wage unknown until curriculum is set
Sources: Springfield City Schools Spokeswoman Kim Fish, Sen. Chris Widener, Springfield Chamber President Mike McDorman
For nearly 10 months the Springfield News-Sun tracked the creation of a multi-million dollar regional agriscience academy to be located in Springfield. Our reporters followed the costs associated with opening the nonprofit Global Impact STEM Academy, were the first to report its location and explain why officials said Clark County needed one.
Clark County is just days away from joining the national spotlight as the home of the first Global Impact STEM Academy in Ohio. There is only one other school in the nation that will provide high school students with the opportunity of a lifetime. The school is modeled after the Biotechnology Agriscience STEM School located in North Carolina. State Senator Chris Widener has been leading the way for the historical South High School building in Springfield to be turned into the home of a high school where students will not only earn a high school diploma, but a college transcript with up to two years of college credit.
Widener explained at a public hearing held at the Springfield City Schools Clark Center that 1 in 7 jobs involve food, fuel or fiber. The school will have a curriculum centered on energy, advanced materials, aerospace, automotive, bioscience and food service. The goal is to prepare the students of today for the jobs that will lead us into the future. According to Widener, by the year 2050, food production will need to increase by 100%, leading to the need for creative ideas to feed the global population. Students will work on group projects and experience digital learning provided by The Ohio State University, Clark State and Wright State. Battelle, a leader in innovation, will also be involved in designing and preparing the programs. Students will have internship opportunities with companies across the region while taking their classes. Unlike other programs, the students will be able to stay connected to their home school for participation in sports, band and choir for example.
The school will be funded by public schools funds that will follow the students selected for the program and will be selected using an application process. Widener stated that the students selection “will not be based on GPA,” but rather on the answers they provide on the application. An interview process with student and parent will also be part of the selection process. The plan is to begin advertising the opportunity to students in the region beginning in January. The first classes for grades 9 and 11 (186 students) is scheduled to begin at the start of classes in the fall of 2013.
South High School was selected because “it is too valuable of an asset” not to be used said Widener. The Springfield City Schools Board of Education and administration worked with Senator Widener to make this school become a reality. The board realizes that when the school is at full capacity (600), they stand to lose 1.5 million dollars in student funding, however the opportunity to provide students with this program was something they had to embrace. Final steps for use of the building will be taken at the next board meeting. Widener explained that all of the Clark County superintendents were included in the discussions leading up to the planning for the project. Funding for the renovations is reported to be 9 million dollars. The Ohio Schools Facility Commission will provide half of the funds with the remaining to be raised by donations. Widener stated that a number of industry leaders that will benefit from the graduates are resources for the remaining funds.
Anyone wishing to learn more about STEM schools that are working with Ohio State may visit www.themetroschool.org. To learn more about the Global Impact STEM Academy, visit GISAohio.blogspot.com. Students from Clark, Greene, Montgomery, Champaign, Madison and other counties will soon be applying for a spot in a high school program that will change their lives and the way America thinks about preparing the leaders of tomorrow.