Fulton County Schools is getting a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-focused high school campus set for north Fulton.
“These are some of the fastest growing academic fields in the world,” district Chief Operating Officer Patrick Burke said of STEM studies. “STEM-related jobs account for many of the new jobs being created in the workforce.”
At its meeting Aug. 17 at Asa G. Hilliard Elementary School in East Point, the Fulton County Board of Education approved by a 7-0 vote the building and site plans the new campus. According to district spokesperson Susan Hale, the STEM campus is open to all north Fulton high school students and will be located on the former site of Milton High near downtown Alpharetta.
Hale said estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal jobs related to STEM “would grow by more than nine million nationwide by 2022.”
Anticipated to open in 2020, the school will host college- and career-focused curriculum pathways in a newly constructed school.
According to Hale, these plans were presented to the school board at its Aug. 10 work session before being approved.
Those plans show an organization of three structure wings for the programs of healthcare sciences, engineering and information technology. The healthcare sciences and information technology wings, three stories each, will flank the main entry to the facility, while a one-story engineering wing allows for larger laboratories to have direct access to outdoor classroom space. In addition, there would be acoustical separation from the rest of the building structure.
Burke said each of the three program spaces is situated around what he termed a “touchdown space.”
“This will create a high-energy environment where STEM students can see and be seen in the act of learning,” he said.
Ground-floor spaces will include the career and counseling center, a food court, administration areas and active learning classrooms.
“The cafeteria, on the first floor, and media center, spread across three floors, will be housed in a combined touchdown space that increases space utilization, flexibility and collaboration in a 21st-century learning environment,” Burke said.
“The school also has safety elements in place, such as clear visitor/student drop-off areas, student parking and a dedicated bus lane,” Hale said.
It also reflects the community’s desire to have access to the facility by proving a separate auditorium building for after hours and weekends.
“The innovative design of the campus is the result of many months of engagement with district and school leaders, parents, business and community members, Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and partners in higher education,” Burke said.
Hale said the district plans to build a similar STEM campus in south Fulton but is still working out ideas on its visioning, programs and location.