Opal Lowry Innovation Center

Middle School students explain a maze they have built during a preview of the Opal Lowry Innovation Center in early November. The a ball is drivable through the maze, and next they students were going to program the ball to drive itself.

Getting students off to the right start before they reach the job market is something more schools are trying to harness with the inclusion of Science, Technology, Engineering, (Arts) and Math (STEM/STEAM). This need has been the driving force behind the, now complete, renovating of the art building behind Duncan High to become a hands-on area for all things STEAM.

The Duncan Public Schools Foundation (DPSF) fundraised and thanks to the Opal Lowry Trust and Halliburton Charitable Foundation, the a majority of the work was paid.

Haylee Root, DPSF director, said renovation started in July of this year and is receiving final inspections this week.

“It is great to make use of a mostly unused and severely dilapidated building,” she said. “But what we were able to do with the space is going to make the biggest impact. STEM based education is important and necessary for our kids today in order to prepare them for life (career or college) after high school. This facility gives our teachers the proper space, equipment, and facilities in which to more effectively teach.”

Now, the public will be able to check out the Opal Lowry Innovation Center from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9. The building is behind the main build of the High School and they ask guests to use the parking lot behind the auditorium.

During the open house, Tammy Bennett, the STEM Coordinator for the district, will have STEM students from the Middle and High School available to answer questions, talk about their work, and explain why a facility like this is beneficial to STEM education.

“We are excited for teachers, parents, students, and community members to come see the amazing facility that has been created from the old science building/current art building,” Root said. “We are one of the few school districts in the state to have an innovation center on our campus. Duncan is a 100 percent STEM school, we are fully one to one (one device per student), and we offer Project Lead the Way curriculum from grades K - 12. Duncan is leading the way in STEM education, and we want everyone to come celebrate with us.”

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