Groundbreaking Ceremony Held For Washington STEM Academy

Washington STEM Academy is a step closer to having the facilities to equip its students with a more efficient learning experience.
Students, staff, construction personnel, Warsaw School Board members and the community gathered Tuesday for the groundbreaking ceremony for Washington STEM academy.
An addition with a new science, technology, engineering and math lab is being built at Washington with the project being completed in the fall. There also will be eight new classrooms and a new area for the principal, his staff and the nurse’s office.
Work will begin in two weeks, with construction completed in August, according to John Bonta, Performance Services project manager.
A groundbreaking ceremony was Dec. 17 for the new Lincoln Elementary School. Work began last week there and will be completed in December.
An addition with a new STEM lab also will be built at Edgewood Middle School. That project will begin within the next few weeks and be completed by December.
Tom Ray, Washington principal, said the groundbreaking is exciting for the school and corporation.
“The new addition will add on eight rooms and a STEM lab and a computer lab,” Ray said.
The school is currently using an art room that was converted into a STEM lab.
The STEM lab addition will allow the art lab to be opened back up for art, and music classes will have its own room.
“For the students and staff educationally, it opens up more space for students to learn and will make it a more secure building,” Ray said.
Ray said STEM education is important because it gives students real-life, hands-on learning experiences and prepares them for the 21st century.
Washington staff said they also are excited about the addition.
Courtney White, fifth-grade teacher, said the new STEM lab will improve learning.
“We have all these new things we are doing with STEM education, and we have an older building with high-tech pieces of equipment we are using. Our new building will match the equipment and provide new space for students to work together,” she said.
Angel Blakeley, fourth-grade teacher, said the new STEM academy will provide an opportunity for students to explore.
“This will provide us more space for learning. We are so confined right now to the classrooms and using our hallways to do our project-based learning, so I think having added space will allow our students to truly work with one another,” Blakeley said.
David Burden, fifth-grade teacher, said the new building will match the great things the school is already doing.
“The building is a way to showcase what we are doing. The students are able to follow their dreams and be inspired and we will equip them with the facility and tools to do that,” Burden said.
Fifth-grade students said they are excited to have the new addition.
Evan Drake said he enjoys building Lego® robotics in the current STEM academy.
“It’s great because we will have more room,” Drake said.
Jordan Love said it will be amazing to have another STEM lab at the school.
“I love science, and it will be amazing to have a new STEM lab, and will help me to be better at my science,” Love said.
Gwen Yeiter said she is exited to use the STEM lab.
“It wil be fun to explore new robots and missions we can do,” Yeiter said.
Dr. David Hoffert, Warsaw Community Schools superintendent, said the corporation is excited about the addition.
“Washington was built in the 1950s so we knew we had a lot of structural and mechanical upgrades that needed to take place,” Hoffert said.
There will be a safe and secure entry constructed as well as roof repairs.
“We want equity amongst the educational environments and these upgrades will provide this,” Hoffert said.

(Story By The Times Union)