Demolition begins for new Hamilton County STEM school - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

SCHOOL PATROL: Demolition begins for new STEM school

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)  --  "Let's get it," yells Chattanooga State President Dr. Jim Catanzaro, as he slams a sledge hammer in the wall of what will become Hamilton County's first STEM high school.

Short for science, technology, engineering and math, the new school will take a different and more hands on approach to high school learning.

"Stem is not really a defined set of knowledge, rather it's a way of asking questions and solving problems," says President of the Public Education Foundation Dr. Dan Challener.  

Part of this new initiative is the STEM hub, a way to connect other schools, parents, the community and businesses to the latest STEM innovations.

"Our future depends on having a qualified work force and this is what it's going to take," says President and CEO of the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association Tim Spires.   

The $1.85 million grant is funded by the states Race to the Top money. One million will be spent on the school alone and $850,000 will go towards the STEM Hub.

Lori Warren says her 8th grade son hopes to become one of the 75 new freshman next fall.

"He's known he wants to be an engineer since he was 6," she says.  

Superintendent Rick Smith says each high school will have a number of ninth graders attending the new STEM school. After those spots are taken, students will be chosen by lottery.

"Even if he doesn't get in, I know he'll do well," Warren says. "But I know if he had this opportunity, it would be fabulous." 

Smith says the school is scheduled to be finished in July.

Putnam and Sevier counties also received grant money to build STEM schools, however Hamilton County's new school is the only one with a STEM Hub.

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