OGDEN — The Ogden School District is breaking ground on a new technology innovation center at Mound Fort Junior High School.
The center will house learning space for tech-driven courses and project-based learning and replace two portable classrooms currently at the school, according to a news release. The groundbreaking is at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
District spokesman Jer Bates said in both email and phone interviews the center will cost $3.5 million and is being paid for with money earmarked during the budget plan for fiscal year 2018.
“Project-based learning is the primary function of this kind of space, but the kind of projects we want our students working on in this day in age are going to inherently involve high tech technology,” Bates said.
That being said, the space won’t be restricted to students taking tech-heavy courses.
“It’s a facility that can provide learning opportunities for every student regardless of the curriculum,” Bates said.
The 10,175-square-foot innovation center will be built to the south of the existing school building but won't be attached.
"There is sufficient space for the construction to take place without disrupting current classes," Bates said.
The district had planned to build more innovation centers at the district’s other two junior high schools as part of a $106.7 million bond initiative voters shot down in 2017. The innovation centers were also not included as part of the district’s 2018 bond initiative, which voters approved this fall.
“My hope is in a couple of years, we will answer the concerns of the skeptics and have nothing but public demand for a space like this,” Bates said.
Bates said Mound Fort was selected as the home of the innovation center because one of its feeder schools, New Bridge School, is a science, technology, engineering and math school, more commonly known as STEM. Mound Fort's leadership had also already begun implementing project-based learning.
"At some point it is anticipated innovation centers may be built at the other two junior high schools," Bates said. "However, no decisions have been made at this point in time."
The Mound Fort innovation center will be completed in summer 2019 and for the time being, it will only be used by students at that school.
“The innovation center will give our students learning experiences where they can pursue their passions in a career pathway that leads to high demand, high pay occupations,” Ogden Career and Technical Education Executive Director Tim Peters said in the news release. “What makes this place special is that it will provide a flexible space for students to collaborate, communicate, think critically and creatively while solving authentic problems with the support of college and industry partners.”