Dayton STEM school on ‘accelerated timeline’ for Kettering K-5 expansion

The Dayton Regional STEM School is awaiting traffic study results while finalizing design plans for a new K-5 building at Miami Valley Research Park.

The school is expanding to include elementary students at a facility just south of its 6-12 building at 1724 Woodman Drive.

The new building’s design “is definitely in the final stages,” said Stephanie Adams Taylor, strategic partnerships director of the school, which aims to open the elementary in fall 2025.

“So, we’re moving as fast as we can,” she added. “We’re definitely on an accelerated timeline.”

The STEM school in April agreed to buy 9.58 acres at research park from the city of Kettering. The city recently approved a conditional use for the new school, provided it complete a traffic study, which was already in the works, officials said.

The school plans to start construction on the 58,000 square foot building this fall and open to K-2 and 4 students next fall, according to Superintendent Robin Fisher. The following year grades 3 and 5 students would join them, officials said.

The two-year phase in is “a model that we’ve used before to build out the sixth- through 12th-grade campus. It was successful,” Adams Taylor said. “It allowed for ample time for curriculum planning (and) we’re really confident that it will work for us this time.”

When fully enrolled, the new school at 2850 Donation Circle will have about 425 students, 25 faculty, 100 parking spaces and accommodate 12 buses, Kettering records show.

A schedule for the new school has not yet been completed, Brock Rossel of the design firm SHP told Kettering officials earlier this month.

Schedules, staffing and shift changes will be examined, Rossel said. “And the school will try to determine their schedule based on that to make sure that we don’t see added (traffic) congestion or any conflicts in the area.”

While traffic study results are pending, “what we envision,” Adams Taylor said, “is for the majority of traffic to actually flow through Donation Circle on the inside of research park instead of on Woodman.”

The Dayton Regional STEM School isn’t a charter school, but it’s not a traditional public school either. STEM schools have their own designation from the state. They are governed by a local board and overseen by the state.

Metro Early College Academy in Franklin County is the only other Ohio STEM school than Bio-Med and the Dayton Regional STEM school that has sixth graders attending the school.

There are several regular district/charter schools that have earned the state’s STEM designation in addition to what they regularly do, and some of those schools do serve younger grades.

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