The Fort Wayne Community Schools board approved a 10-year lease for the development of a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics high school at Electric Works. The board approved the lease June 8. An agency representing Electric Works described the project in an announcement June 9.

The school will feature high-tech labs for programs on entrepreneurship, business, animation, computer technology, agriculture technology and digital music. The school will serve high schools students from around the district.

In recommending that the board approve the lease, Superintendent Wendy Robinson wrote that the district has been investigating a STEAM high school at Electric Works since 2017.

Building 31, formerly an office building built in 1942 during General Electric’s rapid growth during World War II, the new STEAM school will include approximately 25,000 square feet on Swinney Avenue. “It will be one of only a handful of schools nationwide focused on the STEAM disciplines and established in an active mixed-use district, connecting students to career pathways alongside entrepreneurs, innovators and mentors,” according to the announcement.

“The historic, two-story building will provide students hands-on and project-based learning through a personalized, immersive learning environment,” the announcement reads. “Through partnerships with local and regional employers, the school will be based on a model of industry-focused experiential learning and — by developing a new generation of skilled talent — work to transition graduates to college and / or to high-tech, high-wage jobs.”

“Our STEAM school at Electric Works will be vitally important in strengthening our ability to connect the education our students receive with real-world application and effect,” said FWCS Board President Julie Hollingsworth. “Electric Works provides a unique and inspiring opportunity for our students to be as close as possible to the industries and careers they’re studying.”

“The STEAM school is part of a continuum of education opportunities that are critical to realizing this community’s vision of Electric Works as a district of innovation and opportunity,” added Jeff Kingsbury of RTM Ventures, the development team behind Electric Works. “Quality public education is critical to any community’s economic development strategy. As we partner with Fort Wayne Community Schools to leverage public and private funding to deliver this unique model of experiential learning for the families of Fort Wayne, we are grateful for Dr. Wendy Robinson’s leadership and the board’s commitment.”

David Amen, Kathy Friend, Faye Robbins and Darren Hess were part of the team that developed the scope of the project.

The base rent is $15 per square foot, which escalates by 2.25% per year, plus a tenant improvement budget of $7.01 per square foot.

The STEAM school is planned to open with the Electric Works west campus in 2022.

“The school will provide a challenging curriculum that will meet the Indiana Graduation Pathways,” Robinson said in her recommendation. “Students will also benefit from relationships with businesses located within Electric Works.

Electric Works is a public/private partnership between RTM Ventures and the City of Fort Wayne. A redevelopment and reuse of the former General Electric campus in downtown Fort Wayne, Electric Works includes 39 acres, 18 historic buildings and more than 1.2 million square feet of space for office, educational, innovation, retail, residential, hotel and entertainment uses. For more information, visit fortwayneelectricworks.com.

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