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FWCS eyeing Electric Works

March 21st, 2018

By Ashley Sloboda | The Journal Gazette

Plans for Fort Wayne Community Schools' presence at Electric Works are beginning to take shape – emphasis on “beginning.”

During a school board work session Tuesday, the administration shared ideas for classroom space on the former General Electric campus that is being renovated for multipurpose use.

It was part of a broader discussion about the district's future. A similar presentation is planned for Monday's regular board meeting.

The Electric Works school could serve about 630 high school students from within and outside FWCS. In that respect, it would be similar to the Career Academy at Anthis. Programming possibilities include music and film design; architect and design; urban farming and sustainability; and coding and robotics.

“None of this is in ink,” Superintendent Wendy Robinson said.

There's already interest from the business community. Representatives from JPMorgan Chase Bank and Sweetwater were among the audience. “We think this is great,” said Jeff McDonald of Sweetwater.

Robinson was blunt about how much planning there's yet to do. A work session will be needed just on Electric Works, which isn't included in any budget.

“We don't have any money,” Robinson said, encouraging others to lobby for financial support from the state. But it's important for FWCS to take advantage of this opportunity at Electric Works, she said.

“We want to have our name at the table before someone else comes in,” Robinson said.

The vision of Electric Works is a hub of innovation, entrepreneurialism, education and research.

Cross Street Partners, a Baltimore firm, is partnering with two Indiana developers on the Electric Works project: Decatur firm Biggs Development and Indianapolis firm Greenstreet Limited.

Jeff Kingsbury, managing principal with Greenstreet, attended the meeting. He said FWCS' plans have clicked with him. “What we can do at Electric Works is inspire (students),” he said.