Last month, Saline Area School District purchased just over seven acres for a new operations center at Saline Industrial Park at the cost of $484,0000 from Liebherr Gear and Automation Technologies, Inc. to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) elsewhere.
According to Rex Clary, Saline Area Schools executive rirector of operations, the purchase is in order to transform the existing transportation and grounds departments to be remodeled into a middle school STEAM Center.
Other STEAM changes will occur in the future as well.
“The design and realization of dedicated STEAM spaces in Saline Schools is the product of an incredible partnership between teachers, club sponsors, and students—all of whom are passionate about K-12 STEAM opportunities,” Clary said.
The projected dates for the various STEAM centers are the high school in 2024, the middle school in 2025, Heritage in 2025, and other facilities in 2028.
The district said it is making a strong commitment to STEAM along with interdisciplinary connections and important contexts.
“Saline’s vision is that science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) programming will support students in developing a design-thinking mindset anchored in empathy, research, creativity, and solving real-world problems that will equip them to thrive in a global society and benefit the broader community,” said Kara Davis, Executive Director of Teaching & Learning at Saline Area Schools.
Clary said the purchase of the property was determined due to the proximity to the school district as well as the leadership of Liebherr working with the district on a deal beneficial to both.
One of the local sponsors of STEAM activities in Saline is Liebherr.
Liebherr is an aerospace engineering firm—and other manufacturing— located in Germany with a production facility in Saline, Michigan.
“Over the years, Saline Area Schools have built strong collaborative relationships with Liebherr that have supported numerous Robotics & Science Olympiad Clubs/Teams,” Clary said.
They said they appreciate Liebherr’s willingness to listen to their vision for the students of Saline Area Schools and continue to work as a partner to help create new STEAM spaces.
“Saline is very fortunate to have the expert teaching staff, dedicated club sponsors, and engaged students to continue building upon the excellent internal curricular opportunities and extracurricular programming that has been established across previous years to look toward what’s next for the future,” Davis said.
In 2022, the Saline community voted to support a Saline Area Schools bond proposal that provides $180,000,000,00 for improvements, including STEAM-related transformations.
STEAM education is a growing approach in education, in both teaching and learning. STEAM integrates science, technology, engineering as well as all the arts, and mathematics. The process also relies heavily upon problem-based learning, discussion, and inquiry.
Ann Arbor Public Schools has also made commitments to STEAM education. For example, in 2009, a considerable renovation and addition to Northside Elementary School was transformed into A2 STEAM, serving K-8.