Global STEM academy’s new building moving forward

Groundbreaking to be held Dec. 14 on Clark State College’s campus

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Global Impact STEM Academy will have a groundbreaking next week for its new “Upper Academy” facility on Clark State College’s campus.

GISA is building a 30,000-square-foot, single-story facility on the southeast corner of Clark State’s Springfield campus to create an “Upper Academy” for high grade students in 10-12, who will be preparing to enter the workforce or choose a career path to continue their education.

By alleviating capacity restrictions at GISA’s current location inside the Springfield Center of Innovation at The Dome, the new facility will also help serve more students. The goal is to expand programming down to sixth grade starting in fall of 2025 and expand the number of students in grades 7-8.

“This type of relationship with Clark State will decrease barriers to access of college courses for the students we serve. Being on Clark State’s campus makes access less of a burden,” said founding director Josh Jennings. “In addition, it also provides students who have not yet tested college-ready to see themselves in that environment by taking high school courses for high school credit on a college campus.”

The total budget for the project, including all preconstruction services and soft cost, is $16,945,000. GISA will contribute $5,250,000 out of its general fund with the remaining $11,695,000 being financed through New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank, and $1,750,000.00 is being supported by cash collateral from unnamed philanthropic partners.

“We have already seen some additional philanthropic support through fundraising,” Jennings said. “However, when the project stalled out for a few weeks we stopped with those efforts until we were sure the project was moving forward. Now that we are moving forward, we will be reengaging all potential partners from the standpoint of philanthropic support.”

The new facility has a target completion date of July 2025.

GISA, city and other officials attended a meeting last month, where Marker Construction, the design builder, and his team from WSA Studio, a design partner, gave a virtual walk through of the new facility and design.

“This building was designed to be uniquely GISA. That was kind of our idea throughout, not just a standard kind of K-12,” said Todd Boyer, architect with WSA.

The new facility will include an entry plaza; an administrative suite with a reception area, four private offices, nurses station with two faculty restrooms, conference room, guidance suite with three private counselor offices and a waiting room, kitchenette and seating area; central commons area; outdoor patio; bus and parent drop off; expanded parking lot (which has 17 spaces but will have 60 in the future); building services core with a large storage room, restrooms, water and electrical room.

It also includes academic spaces such as biochemistry and environmental science labs, which are supported by a prep room between them; art room with its own kiln room; chemistry and physical science labs, also supported by a collaborative prep room; food science room; an ag lab and patio with a garage door; a delivery dock, greenhouse; and general classroom.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

“We try to uniquely fit the GISA program, which is what we’re trying to achieve with providing as much flexibility and transparency as we possibly could to not let the knowledge stop at the entrance of the classrooms,” Boyer said. “We’ve tried to make those connect as much as we can, and really what we’ve done is organized all the academic and supports spaces around a central commons. You’ll see that as a theme through all of what we talk about is everybody connecting to that central commons because we think the GISA community and culture is really what kind of thrives and makes it what it is today.”

Clark State provided the land for the new facility and additional space on the campus for Global Impact programming and classes.

“Since its inception over 10 years ago, GISA has been woven into the fabric of Clark State as a large percentage of their students population participates in our College Credit Plus program ... GISA’s physical presence at Clark State will facilitate more students being exposed to our campus community and the supportive educationally environment that it provides,” said Doug Schantz, Executive Vice President for Finance, Facilities & Operations at Clark State.

Crystal Jones, Vice President for Marketing, Diversity and Community Impact, and GISA board member, said the partnership is “twofold” for her.

“The partnership truly empowers the future through knowledge collaboration,” she said. “The groundbreaking signifies how fostering dynamic partnerships can transform education and propel students to limitless possibilities.”

Schantz said the new facility will also help workforce development in the community.

“GISA’s Upper Academy expansion will serve as an asset to not only Springfield but also the workforce development initiatives throughout the region,” he said.

Horton Hobbs IV, Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Springfield Partnership, hopes the expansion is a “beginning of continued growth.”

“This new facility, with GISA already being in existence, will further strengthen the curriculum and STEM focus, and that strengthens our conversations with existing and new businesses in preparing our workforce for the future,” he said.

Hobbs said many students already spend a significant amount of time on Clark State’s campus, and it’ll be more convenient for them and allow for allow for enhanced programing and collaboration.

“What’s interesting about this, with the intentional location on (Clark State’s) campus, it brings unique opportunities to students and families, strengthens conversations with companies (about our) commitment, providing intentional academic instruction for students at the secondary level,” he said.

Along with building a new facility, GISA will also add new career pathways in Aerospace and Aviation Technology.

The current phase leaders are in is “not specifically catered” to the expanded career pathways, but they are still “moving froward with our progress in that area” by introducing the first course offering in spring in Aviation Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

“If all goes well, it is our intent to build upon that next school year with additional offerings,” Jennings said. “If it is feasible, we do hope to include an additional phase of this facilities project in the future to support the necessary classroom space to accommodate these courses.”

Jennings said, this past summer, GISA had an instructor receive training through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) so they could offer the courses through them.

GISA is now one of four schools, along with Emmanuel Christian Academy, Northwestern Local and Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center (CTC), who is currently participating in the Ohio Aviation STEM Education Consortium.

“We look forward to seeing how this evolves over the next few years and are excited about the potential collaborative efforts that this brings for multiple educational entities in our region,” Jennings said.

Global Impact leadership, industry professionals from around Ohio and the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Career Technical Education have explored this new pathway and what programming would look like to support the technologies.

How this new curriculum will be implemented will reflect how the current programming in agriculture and bioscience is delivered. Specific courses will depend on input from industry professionals and what is needed to support the emerging technologies in the area of advanced air mobility.

The academy is currently accepting applications for the 2024-25 school year, with applications due Jan. 12, at A parent Q&A session will be held Jan. 9 in the John Legend Theater. There will be a lottery held on Jan. 26 if there are more applicants than spots available.

More details

The groundbreaking will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at the college’s Leffel Lane campus, beginning in LRC 207/209. To RSVP visit

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