Science school lands at Clark State

Board still is committed to former South High location for permanent home.

The new agricultural science school will open at Clark State Community College’s Leffel Lane campus for the 2013-14 school year.

The governing board of the Global Impact STEM Academy voted Monday to negotiate a lease with Clark State to use Shull Hall as a temporary location for the school’s first year.

Global Impact would be the first industry-focused regional STEM school in Ohio. Agriculture is one of Ohio’s leading industries, accounting for one in seven jobs in the state.

The board is still committed to making a permanent home at South High School, said board chair Ed Leventhal.

“That’s been on the agenda and the drawing board and the development of the STEM school from day one in terms of believing that’s the best location,” he said.

The school is working on requests for proposals to determine how much renovations would cost to get South High ready to serve students again.

The terms of the Clark State lease, including the rent for the science, technology, engineering and math-focused school, are still being worked out, said Carl Berg, Global Impact’s interim director.

Clark State was one of two possible locations in the running, and the facilities committee chose it over Avetech at NextEdge. The facilities committee initially looked at five possible locations before ruling out Wittenberg University, Downs U.S. Army Reserve Center on West High Street and the Warder Literacy Center.

The college connection and ability to guarantee rooms’ availability were factors in the decision, as well as features of Shull Hall.

“That is the former agriculture building,” said Berg. “It has a greenhouse available to us … It has an actual science lab in it, which is kind of important for an agricultural science school.”

Shull is in a location on the campus that allows the school to be separate when it needs to but close enough to work with the college, too, and it is close to the Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center, so the schools might be able to work together for transportation, he said. There’s also available visitor parking and green space for students to work if needed.

Clark State Community College is one of the founding partners of the Global Impact school, which was proposed by Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield.

The alternate location for the first year is one of the last pieces the board needed to finalize for recruitment efforts, led by Wilt PR, which are expected to launch in mid-April for the fall start date.

“I don’t think that’s as early as we would like, but the board seems to believe that still allows enough time to recruit and enroll 75 to 100 ninth-grade students,” said Leventhal.

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