With new coordinator, STEM labs up and running

Innovation Center allows for hands-on STEM experiences

While+they+were+vacant+at+the+start+of+the+school+year%2C+the+labs+in+the+new+Innovation+Center+are+now+being+used+every+day+by+both+STEM+teachers+and+students.

Izzy Marasco

While they were vacant at the start of the school year, the labs in the new Innovation Center are now being used every day by both STEM teachers and students.

Lilly Art, Reporter

After years of funding, planning and building, the new Innovation Center classrooms finally opened. Construction was completed during the second week of September and the facility has been in use ever since. 

The Innovation Center consists of two floors, with three labs on the top floor and three classrooms on the bottom floor. The top floor is being used for chemistry and biology classes, and the bottom floor has been set aside for the use of physics, engineering, computer science, robotics, and entrepreneurship classes. 

The new laboratories have created advantages for teachers and students. All of the science teachers have used them at least once this year, and more than 80 labs have been conducted since the opening of these laboratories. 

In addition, lab coordinator Ms. Sarah Woelfer has been hired to set up labs for different science classes. She works with teachers to improve the laboratory experience for all students. There have been a lot more labs being conducted so far this school year because teachers do not have to set them up. 

There is already an increase in the energy of the student body that is definitely related to the excitement of the new Innovation Center.”

— Chemistry teacher Mr. Howard Fogel

By having new classrooms in which to teach STEM courses, an increase in the number of students interested in STEM is expected over the course of the next few school years. Having classrooms dedicated to this branch of science highlights its importance and encourages students to take STEM classes. 

Co-director of STEM co-director and chemistry teacher Mr. Howard Fogel said, “It will allow our students and faculty to increase interest in their disciplines, as well as shine a bright light on the work we are currently doing.” He said he believes that these changes will help students look at STEM in a whole new light. 

Space is an important factor when it comes to science projects and lab experiments. The new rooms are much bigger than regular sized classrooms. This allows more space to set up equipment and it gives students room to spread out while working. The classrooms were designed to provide opportunities to increase the types of laboratory experiments being conducted. 

Another added benefit to the Innovation Center is the floor-to-ceiling windows around the outside of the building. Students and teachers have an amazing view of the campus in every classroom. Woelfer says that the beautiful views make the classroom setting more appealing to everyone in the rooms. Fogel also says that his favorite part of the new building is looking out the windows of the chemistry labs at the Legacy Cross, which is located on the east side of he courtyard between Loretto and Kelly halls.

The new building has had a positive effect on both students and faculty and also will be on full display to visitors to the campus during Open House on Oct. 14. Students are able to receive a more hands-on curriculum that excites and inspires them. Fogel said, “There is already an increase in the energy of the student body that is definitely related to the excitement of the new Innovation Center.”