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Still Full-STEAM Ahead for Regional High School and Worker Training Center in Syracuse

WAER file photo

Plans for the Central New York STEAM School are still on track despite the COVID-19 pandemic and looming state budget deficits.  Syracuse City Schools Superintendent Jaime Alicea joined Senator Rachel May Thursday for a virtual update on the project. 

He says they’ll select an architect for renovations once the county takes ownership of the 117-year-old building from the city.  Meanwhile, a curriculum committee is developing courses to serve students from across the region.

"This is the opportunity to have kids from Liverpool, FM [Fayetteville-Manlius], Marcellus, the city, to come together and develop a prrograms so we [districts] don't have to all develop schools for the performing arts, robotics or construction management.  We can all work together, exchange ideas, and offer these programs to all kids in Central New York." 

Senator May says her district includes both urban and rural areas, and knows the benefits of a regional school.  She's been leading the effort in the senate.

"I really like the idea that we're crossing those boundaries, bringing the kids together.  Rural districts have their own problems offering a broad range of classes.  This is an opportunity that should be wonderful for kids outside the city as well as for the kids in the city."

The $75 million regional high school and worker training center will be located in the vacant Central  High School building on the southern edge of downtown.  Superintendent Alicea says he’s already hearing from the region’s arts venues and the business community. 

"CNY Jazz got in contact with me about it...they're interested.  Redhouse is interested.  We also had a conversation with the Everson Museum.  Businesses are also interested in working with us." 

Construction should begin sometime next year and could be finished the start of the 2022-23 school year. 

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at