central tech syracuse

Countywide STEAM-themed high school on track to open next year in Syracuse, N.Y.

Jan. 20, 2021
The city, school district and Onondaga County have partnered to renovate a vacant downtown school.

Leaders in Syracuse, N.Y., say a new countywide high school focusing on arts and sciences could enroll its first students by fall 2022.

The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that the $74 million project— a joint effort of the city, the school district and Onondaga County—will renovate the downtown Central Tech school, but work has been delayed because of the coronavirus.

The school will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

"The pandemic has slowed our progress," Mayor Ben Walsh says. “But we remain 100% committed to moving forward with the STEAM project."

That should mean the first group of about 250 ninth-graders can attend the STEAM school in fall 2022, School Superintendent Jaime Alicea says.

The school plans to add a new group of ninth-graders each subsequent fall so that by 2026 the school's enrollment will be about 1,000.

The city is working with dozens of businesses, college staff and experts to create learning tracks that match the employment needs throughout the Syracuse area.

Right now, the city owns the building the former Central Tech building, which was built in 1903. It closed in 1975 and has been mostly vacant since.

The plan calls for the city to transfer ownership to the county, which has agreed to borrow the $74 million needed for construction.

The state has agreed to pay back the borrowed money over time. Local taxpayers will pay for the school's operating costs. The city is planning for 60% of the students to come from Syracuse and 40% from suburban districts.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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