Residential STEM High School Getting Second Campus

A residential STEM high school in North Carolina has broken ground on a second campus. The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is expected to open a western campus in Morganton in August 2021. (The original campus is 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.

The new campus comes as NCSSM approaches its 40th anniversary. NCSSM has claimed to be the first public residential high school in the country specializing in STEM. It has served as a model for similar schools, many of which now make up the membership of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools. Among notable alumni at NCSSM are an astronaut, college presidents, authors and writers and at least one MacArthur "genius grant" recipient.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.