Butler Tech unveils $12.5M Natural Science Center

Expansion is on former farm site in Monroe.

The latest expansion of one of Ohio’s largest career school systems was officially unveiled in a ceremony Thursday as a $12.5 million classroom and lab facility was opened in Monroe.

It’s the largest addition to Butler Tech’s Natural Science Center since the former Matson farm site was acquired in 2005 turning the barn, equestrian center and grounds into one of the area’s largest-scale experiments in career learning for high school students.

The expansion of the campus, which is adjacent to the Monroe 4-12 school, was heralded by Butler Tech officials and students alike as a major upgrade for the 250 students studying there for careers in veterinary and equestrian sciences, green engineering and landscaping and design.

ExploreNew Butler Tech classrooms being built on converted farm campus

“This expansion will also allow us to serve more students on this campus to meet the growing demand for career tech education from local students and the needs in the workforce,” said A.J. Huff, spokeswoman for Butler Tech, which serves more than 18,000 high school and adult students annually in full and part-time classes on campuses throughout the county.

The two-story, 26,000-square-foot Natural Science Center, will allow high school students to move from smallish classroom space within the renovated barn, which used to be the centerpiece of the Matson fruit farm, into spacious and modern classrooms and labs.

The project was done by Skanksa, a Swedish-based construction management firm with its regional headquarters in Cincinnati. The company has also worked closely with other Butler Tech projects and helped build three new schools opened by Fairfield city schools in 2017.

ExplorePHOTOS: Butler Tech's new Natural Science Center open in Monroe

Students got to use the center for the first time Monday but hundreds of them also joined Monroe and county education and government officials Thursday for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony in the center’s main atrium area.

Among the crowd were Matson family members who were honored for their generosity in helping to create a school campus from a once-working farm.

“I am a teacher myself,” said Becky Kapley, one of the Matson’s many grandchildren and guest at the event.”

“I think that my experiences visiting the farm influenced the direction of my career. I loved visiting and interacting with the animals. When I heard the property was going to the schools I couldn’t have been happier. My grandpa was on the Monroe Board of Education so it seemed a fitting use of the land,” said Kapley.

Among the many grateful students on the 72-acre campus was Vanessa Saiz, a Butler Tech senior studying for a career in veterinarian sciences.

She will now take all her academic classes in the new building and is thrilled about that.

“When I first walked in, I was surprised at how big it was,” said Saiz.

“The new building is much more spacious for students and the animals. It’s very nice,” said Saiz of the old, remodeled barn.

“In the old classroom building we had rabbits and cats in the same room because we had no other room for them.

“We’re all excited about the new possibilities coming our way.”


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See a photo gallery of the new Natural Science Center. journal-news.com

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