2.75 million dollars awarded to Waverly Central School District for Innovation Center
Chemung, NY (WENY)-- A vacant elementary school in Chemung County is getting a second chance at life as a hands on innovation center.
The new center will be in the old Chemung Elementary School in the town of Chemung. The goal is to allow kids to have hands on learning, and once they graduate, be able to go into a field that provides a living wage.
The process to receive these federal funds started over a year ago, when Superintendent Dr. Eric Knolles reached out to Senator Charles Schumer's office to pitch the project. The school district didn't hear anything back for quite a bit, so they started to proceed with the project on their own, until they got a call last Thursday saying they got the funding.
"We contacted the Senators office as kind of a hail Mary, and they liked our initial project." Knolles says. "So we set up a couple meetings with them. They were like we are very interested, we think it would be unique to the area, this area could use an innovation center. We didn't hear anything from them for a long time, so we said, Okay, we are going to do it ourselves. We had a little bit of money, and Thursday four o'clock, I got a phone call saying 'oh by the way, federal budget, you got 2.75 million in it'."
While the building has been slowly been having students back in for a little bit now, Knolles acknowledge there is still a lot of work to be done, include meeting with their community partners, But he says, those connections have already started.
The center will have hands on learning in STEM fields. There will be construction, transportation and even drone flying, where students can work to obtain their drone license. The program hopes to help kids become innovators, and hopefully, remain here in the Southern Tier.
"This will give some kids the opportunity to really be entrepreneurs, really look into creating stuff." Knolles said. "So the next generation of business owners, the next generation of employees, but hopefully the next generation of innovators to come up with things in this region. We've done it before."