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STEM building could cost more than $7 million

| Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, 5:57 p.m.

A proposed high-tech, STEM-focused building for the Norwin School District could cost more than $7 million, architects said Tuesday.

The building, which, if completed, would be one of only two like it in the country, project architects said, would offer high school students courses focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. A steering committee for the proposed STEM Innovation Center met Tuesday to discuss programming and design.

The only known building devoted to those fields of study is the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies in Overland Park, Kan., according to Hayes Large Architects, the firm hired to conduct a feasibility study for the center.

That center, constructed to resemble an office rather than a school, cost about $17 million and is about three times as large as the proposed building for the Norwin district.

The STEM Innovation Center would be about 22,000 square feet, officials said.

The building could cost between $7 million and $7.6 million, officials said. The steering committee is working through recommendations for types of building design, furniture and necessary equipment, which would affect the final cost.

Officials anticipate at least nine funding sources to cover that cost, including a $2.5 million grant with matching funds from an unnamed foundation and $250,000 from the Air Force. The school district would cover $500,000 for staffing and program costs in the first year.

Officials identified four potential sites for the STEM center at Norwin, including in a field across from the administration building, on a wooded hillside behind the administration building, the courtyard attached to the high school or across the street from the auditorium side of the high school.

The steering committee met last month to discuss how the center should train students for future jobs. It will meet again in November to discuss function and form.

A final design is expected to be completed by Dec. 31.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.

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