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Expansion underway at Stryker school

Construction crews have broken ground on a $4.1 million Stryker Schools expansion that will bring additional classroom spaces for tech-driven, hands-on educational programming.

The project will add two new classroom spaces to the school. One is the Ag Tech Center, an approximately 60’ x 140’ one-story space for grades seven-12, under construction on the southwest corner of the current school. The second space is the Elementary Tech and Fine Arts program, a two-story addition to be built inside the footprint of the current school courtyard, for grades pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade.

Also within the Elementary Tech addition is a fitness room and an event room.

Both tech programs will serve as experiential tech learning labs more than traditional classrooms and are unique within the State of Ohio, Superintendent Nate Johnson told The Bryan Times after the Stryker school board’s regular monthly meeting Monday.

Rather than just sit at desks, students are more self-directed, learning and practicing different hands-on tech skills that interest them. And, Johnson said, they learn how to work with others on projects, similar to an actual job site.

He said both the elementary and junior high/high school programs will offer instruction in a wide range of skills in demand in the 21st century, including 3D printing, CNC, CAD and Fanuc robotics, which emphasizes learning and practicing real-world, industrial-based robotics skills, versus just classroom instruction.

In addition, the Elementary Fine Arts program offers programming in art, choir, music, performance and culinary skills.

The programs offer integrated learning that gets students excited and engaged while learning the skills that are sought-after in today’s workplace, Johnson said. They represent a revolutionary change from the passive traditional classroom.

“Nowhere else in the state has this that I’m aware of,” he said.

Johnson added the programs appeal to students who learn experientially rather than in a traditional classroom setting, and they differ from the vocational school because they offer a range of skills, rather than concentrating on just one.

Stryker currently offers Ag Tech and Panther Tech programming that has proven popular with students. The building expansions and the expanded skills programming is driven by that popularity.

Johnson said he and staff have been discussing this expansion for five years. “The (classrooms) we have now are full and we’re in the hallways currently.

“It’s past time to expand,” Johnson said.

The tentative timeline calls for the project to be completed by August 2025, in time for the beginning of the 2025-26 school year.

Matt Arnos is the Ag Tech Center instructor and Larry Freshour serves as the Elementary Tech & Fine Arts instructor.

The $4.1 million comes from the schools’ general fund.

In other action, the board:

  • Heard from Johnson that athletic director Kent Hosopple has heard enough interest expressed from potential participants to consider beginning a junior high baseball team. The school also is continuing to gauge interest in starting a junior high girl’s softball team.

  • Met in executive session with Treasurer/CFO Jill Peters to consider evaluation, compensation and employment of an employee. No action was taken after the meeting.

The next board meeting is 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 15. The meeting is open to the public.

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