By CHRIS BARBER
The Avon Grove Charter School took another step toward sending out graduates who are keenly aware of the physical world..
On Friday they cut the ribbon on their new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Center -- a classroom building completely dedicated to science and environmental studies.
The center, built from 13 pre-fabricated modules, sits beside the main building on State Road. The certificate of occupancy was issued last week, and the teachers moved in books and material starting on Friday night and continuing into the weekend.
“It’s more than an expansion of our classroom space. It transforms our students into people who are uniquely positioned for success in an increasingly green world economy,” Head of School Kevin Brady said.
He referred to the building as a flagship of the school’s dedication to environmental sciences.
He had high praise for the school’s business manager, Donna Archer, and he said of his staff that he never met people with a more positive attitude toward science teaching.
In a brief ceremony on at the front door of the building, Board President Roseanne Starkey named and congratulated local municipal leaders for their help and cooperation, the contractors that constructed the building and others who had given legal and technical aid.
Brady said the plans for the center began two years ago. Not only did they need more room, but it made a statement about the school’s purpose and expanded discovery learning.
Additionally, by moving all the science classroom space to the new addition, it gave for room for the arts and performance courses in the older building -- the former Avon Grove Elementary School.
The addition stands by itself and is 10,000 square feet in size. Its cost was $500,000, which came from funds that had been set aside for expansion.
The pre-built units are leased.
The new center will serve all students who currently attend the State Road building -- kids from third through 12th grade.
For students in grades four through six, that will include planning and building a wind-powered turbine, building a water-purification system and/or using student-built robots to survey the terrain.
For students in grades three-through five, it will mean engaging in projects for water re-cycling and using applied geometry to build animal feeders and shelters.
“We believe that our approach to environmental education enables students to better understand the critical importance of preserving natural environments and managing natural resources in a responsible, sustainable manner,” Brady said in a written program for the opening of the center.