New regional STEM center to open at Lake Charles Boston Academy

Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Southwest Louisiana is making big moves towards furthering STEM education. Thursday, the Calcasieu Parish School Board announced a brand new regional STEM Center for local teachers and students.

In addition to the recently announced STEM academy at Combre-Fondel Elementary, the district’s latest mission focuses on providing students with a more wide-range of resources in the STEM field.

”There will be jobs for our kindergartners when they graduate that do not exist today. How do we prepare them for that?” said STEM Center Director Mark Arseneault.

In continued efforts to build foundations for the future of students, staff from the Calcasieu Parish School Board joined with representatives from McNeese State University and secured the placement of a Regional STEM Center in Lake Charles through the Louisiana Regional STEM Network. The STEM center will be located at Lake Charles Boston Academy.

Arseneault said the new addition has been years in the making.

”Under the guidance of Mr. Bruchhaus and his team, he said, ‘Hey, I think Lake Charles Boston Academy would be a great location for the STEM center because of its history, its location, its facilities.’ Yes, we did take a hit by the hurricanes, and yes, we will rebuild. But here we are.”

“We are very excited to host the Region 5 STEM Center for Southwest Louisiana at Lake Charles Boston Academy,” said Calcasieu Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus. “It is a great opportunity for learning and professional development for Calcasieu and our neighboring parishes. Our team continues to expand our partnerships with McNeese, area business/industry, and other educational stakeholders in anticipation of a bright future for STEM growth.”

The STEM center will house learning for both teachers and students. Within those classrooms, students will be exposed to learning through STEM, teachers will be trained on teaching through STEM, and the educational journey of both groups will be transformed through STEM.

”We’re not supplanting or taking the place of anything that’s going on in STEM at any of the schools. We’re here to support them,” said Arseneault.

The Center will serve Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Calcasieu, Jeff Davis, and Vernon parishes. The initial Center will begin in a 4 to 5 classroom area with district and McNeese representatives anticipating growth as services begin to teachers and students across our region.

External growth is also anticipated as the Center opens and begins serving teachers and students in our region. A living solar system will be one of the first expansions, as its addition will soon be seen along the 1st Avenue Walking Trail.

The center hopes to start hosting students as early as this Summer.

The Louisiana Regional STEM Network is envisioned to operate as a system of nine geographic areas strategically positioned across Louisiana through which communities, parishes, multi-parish regions, and the State can achieve improved STEM education, opportunity, and advancement. The region boundaries are not intended to function as barriers between each region, but rather as areas of focus for the Regional STEM Network Centers. It is expected and hoped that current and developing STEM activities will span one or more Louisiana STEM Regions. Regions are encouraged to share information, collaborate, and interconnect through coordination of resources, which can also provide a gateway to other centers and initiatives.

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