Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First STEAM school in the CNY area set to open in two years

A large brown and white building with trees and hedges in front.
City of Syracuse
Central High School in downtown Syracuse.

An upcoming collaborative high school that will focus on science and technology but also arts is set to open in late 2025. Syracuse’s STEAM School will be the region’s first school that welcomes students across districts and serve as an education hub for CNY’s growing tech sector.

STEAM high school consultant Jody Manning said the school, focused on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, will be accessible to all area high school students.

“In New York State, we have 700 school districts, and depending on the zip code you live, you may have more or less opportunities," Manning said at a Friday afternoon panel on the school. "In order to get better opportunities, you either have to move or you have to go to a private school. This let’s us break down the barriers, not only for ZIP codes, but for the facility. The other part was to become an employability incubator. We wanted students to be future ready.” 

STEAM will bring back to life the former Central High School, an iconic downtown structure built in the 1900s. The projected $74 million renovation will serve as a regional facility, enrolling students from the city of Syracuse and any Onondaga, Cortland or Madison county BOCES component district.

Manning said curriculum planning is based on the needs of local companies and allows connections with industry leaders to support mentoring, internships and job shadow opportunities.

“We went to businesses and said, ‘What do you need?’ Our job is to provide and produce these future employees," Manning said. "So, you tell us what we need. And we'll put it through the educational system. So, they're graduating not only with the Regents high school diploma, but skills that will really benefit that. So the reverse engineering process, I think, was a major vehicle for buy-in.”

The school will also include a $1 million robotic lab to certify students in skills needed at local companies like Amazon, JMA Wireless and Carrier. Additionally, Micron pledged to invest millions into the school to better prepare a local workforce by the time the semiconductor company moves into the area.

Manning provided updates on STEAM during a virtual forum hosted by the nonprofit Focus Greater Syracuse. Superintendents Anthony Davis, of Syracuse, and Jeremy Belfield, of LaFayette, also spoke on plans for the school, which includes partners such as the city of Syracuse, the Syracuse City School District, Onondaga County and Onondaga, Cortland and Madison County BOCES, CenterState CEO, MACNY and other business, government and higher education institutions.

Ashley Kang is a content producer for WAER 88.3 FM under Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. She supports the station with community-driven story ideas; planning of the monthly public affairs show; Syracuse Speak; and the launch of an education beat.