PHENIX CITY, Al- Phenix City Schools recently unveiled a new facility that has its sixth and seventh graders very excited about learning—and many adults, too. The Dyer Family STEM Center recently held its grand opening, and now it’s a daily part of the curriculum. News 3 received a VIP tour of the center.
Welcome to the Phenix City Schools’ Dyer Family STEM Center. Mix cutting edge technology with state-of-the-art learning labs—and as Phenix City School Superintendent Randy Wilkes puts it, you get a field trip where students don’t have to leave town.
And it’s drawing rave reviews from the community – – especially those who invested in the Center.
“A lot of them, they might be my age or older– they want to come back to school,” says a smiling Superintendent Wilkes.
But among the many things that make this facility so special, it’s not just a shelved ornament of excellence occasionally used—but it’s part of the everyday curriculum for all students.
“Every sixth and seventh grader comes in this building every day. And that’s what unique, really, about this entire project is that all of our students participate. It’s not just for our honor students, or magnet students, or gifted students. All of students come and have this experience daily.”
And just how tech is this daily educational experience?
“The smell of formaldehyde no more . . .”
In this lab, students are able to dissect animals without . . well, the animals. They’re also able to look inside the human heart.
Angel Wilson, the STEM Center Facilitator, says STEM Center offers experiences to students many of us would have never imaged possible.
“Our uniqueness in providing these opportunities for all of our sixth and seventh grade students allows them to have skills that they learn in engineering, virtual reality settings, digital media, etcetera, so their opportunities are really limitless.”
Beyond the labs, the STEM center also offers fresh and saltwater aquariums, an interactive atrium where giant screen TVs become learning stations that can host multiple activities for groups of students, and even an Imaginarium . . . the center’s version planetarium that can integrate 3-D movies and lessons.
Superintendent Wilkes adds he really appreciates the community’s help in making the center a reality.
“To date, we have more than 200 friends of Phenix City Schools who have contributed more than $853,000 to state of the art equipment inside of the Dyer Family STEM Center,” says Superintendent Wilkes.
Rooms in the center were named for individuals and business who donated at least $25,000 dollars each to the project.