Campus Renovation

OSU, Battelle Partner to Reopen Middle School with STEM Focus

Ohio State University announced last week that it is partnering with private, nonprofit applied science and technology development company Battelle and Metro Schools to reopen a former middle school as a STEM-focused middle and high school. Following approval from the Ohio State Board of Trustees, the university will lease the former site of Indianola Middle School, and Battelle will fund its renovations. Once the work is complete, Metro Schools will take over operations and create its second public STEM school.

Metro Schools currently operates the Metro Early College High School in Columbus, Ohio. Once the renovated Indianola building opens to students in 2024, students in grades 6–12 will move to the new building, and the existing building will begin serving grades K–5.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the university to partner with the State of Ohio, Battelle and Metro Schools to reopen a beautiful building near our own campus and invest in the future of STEM,” said Jay Kasey, senior vice president of Ohio State’s Office of Administration and Planning. “Ohio State looks forward to continuing to work with neighborhood representatives to bring this positive addition to the University District.”

OSU purchased the property in 2017, and the school building has been empty since 2010. Under the terms of the agreement, the university will lease the school to Metro Schools at no cost for a term of 30 years. Once it approves the project, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission will match a $15 million investment from Battelle to renovate the 9.38-acre facility.

The new school will have a capacity of 1,200 students. Students who live within the University District will have the option to reserve seats, and Metro Schools also boasts a student body of at least 50% from the Columbus City School District.

“Our founder envisioned an enterprise that leveraged science to reinvest in our community’s future,” said Wes Hall, vice president of philanthropy and education for Battelle. “Metro Schools inspires and prepares students to enter today’s STEM economy, and the project announced today lays the groundwork for a new expansion of that vision to help more students succeed.”

Metro Early College High School opened in 2006 through a partnership with OSU, Battelle, and school districts in Franklin County. It was one of the first STEM schools in the state, and it has seen a 100% graduation rate since its founding. Opening a second location is the first step of a larger expansion plan that could eventually serve as many as 5,000 students across six buildings.

“We believe every student deserves a quality STEM education,” said Metro Schools Superintendent Meka Pace. “This new opportunity, made possible by our founding partners, will mean more young people from this growing, diverse community can join our Metro family.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].