Supporting STEM Education

$58 Million New Campus Construction in the Works for Residential STEM High School

A North Carolina residential STEM high school has broken ground on its second campus.

The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is expected to open a western campus in Morganton in August 2021, adding to the original campus located in Durham.

According to news reports, the facility will be about 211,000 square feet and will include existing buildings from the previous school that was on the site that have been renovated along with new construction. Plans are for 300 students from across the state to reside at the school, most, if not all, juniors and seniors. A bond package passed by voters in 2016 provided the project with $58 million, which has an estimated project budget of $73 million.

A 2017 "educational program vision" for the new school stated that students "will develop knowledge, habits of mind, skills and dispositions from mathematics, science, engineering, computer science and the humanities" in experiences "oriented toward s preparing [them] to respond to opportunities and challenges in a changing world." The curriculum will include data science and artificial intelligence. Learning will provide real-world experiences, as well as student research and mentorships. And recruitment will emphasize identifying and recruiting prospective students from underrepresented communities.

"Expansion to Western [North Carolina] will give even more students the opportunity to discover their interests and talents, to prepare to lead, serve, and tackle the challenges faced by our state, our nation, and our world," NCSSM Chancellor, Todd Roberts, told supporters in a recent letter.

NCSSM, which claims to be the first public residential high school in the country specializing in STEM, is approaching its 40th anniversary and has served as a model for similar schools, many of which now make up the membership of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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