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Historic status sought for downtown Springfield site to spur reuse

New STEM school opens

Springfield’s first Global Impact STEM Academy officially celebrated its grand opening Monday with a crowd of about 100 students and parents waiting to get a sneak peek.

The STEM academy, which stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, is unique in that it offers high school students hands-on training in bio-science and agricultural fields for college credit, said Joshua Jennings, the school’s founding director. Planning for the school has been underway for more than a year.

Bioscience is targeted to be a job field in high demand in the future, and has seen rapid growth in Ohio. According to BioOhio, a non-profit biotech support group, the state has seen bioscience employment increase 16.5 percent, or by nearly 8,600 jobs, since 2000 even while overall employment in Ohio declined.

Both math and agriculture appeal to freshman Rebecca Helt, from New Carlisle, who said her family has been involved in 4-H for three generations.

“After I heard what this school was, I was really interested in it because that’s something that’s really right up my alley,”she said.

After taking a tour Monday and meeting her teachers, Helt said she’s enthusiastic to begin classes and start earning college credit.

“The whole atmosphere is upbeat, it’s positive. It’s like we’re ready to just dig right into everything,” she said.

For the 2013-2014 school year, classes will be held at Shull Hall on the Clark State Community College campus. Initial plans were for classes to be held in the former Springfield South High School but extensive renovations are needed there. The hope is the academy will enroll another class of freshmen for the 2013-2015 school year, and courses will be moved to the former high school then, Jennings said.

So far, 50 students are enrolled, and the academy is accepting applications for 25 more. Officials project enrollment to increase each year until it reaches the target of 600 students in 9th through 12th grades, based on models for other STEM schools.

Springfield freshman Angel Canter said she dreams of becoming an engineer, and earning college credit toward that goal is why the STEM school is so appealing. With fewer students enrolled, Canter added she thinks she’ll get a better learning experience due to smaller class sizes.

“Me and my mom especially think it’s going to be great because (we’re) going to have more help on our studies,” she said.

The academy is still accepting freshmen students. For more information or to enroll, call (937) 328-6600 or visit

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