Promoting STEM education across the country

STEM is an educational approach to learning that integrates science, technology, engineering and math as pathways to guide discussions and critical thinking. This type of teaching and learning has grown in popularity, and impacted a variety of industries, including construction.  As we go back-to-school, we wanted to highlight a few ways that our project team members are partnering with local STEM students in their communities, as well as several K-12 and Higher Education STEM schools that we’re building across the country. 

Partnering with schools in our community  

Our teams are committed to helping students pursue fulfilling careers in construction. We give students a first-hand look at this industry through various opportunities, including: 

  • 4D Sequencing – Four of our projects in North Carolina are hosting students from NC State’s BIM in Construction course. Throughout the semester, students tour our projects, learn the scheduling process and create weekly 4D sequences of structural steel and MEP systems. This program helps future construction professionals gain real-world experience. 
  • ACE Mentorship – This is a nationwide, free after-school program for high school students who want to learn more about careers in the ACE industry and STEM skills. Students are mentored by successful architects, construction managers and engineers from the industry who meet as a team twice a month during the school year. Skanska provides professionals as volunteers to mentor individual ACE students. 
  • Day of Discovery  –  This is a Skanska program that introduces younger generations to careers in architecture, engineering and construction (ACE). With site tours and presentations, our teams provide students with a better understanding of construction as well as the exciting and meaningful parts of their roles. By showing youth—especially girls who are underrepresented in the construction industry—new career path options, our teams are inspiring the next generation. Check out a recent Day of Discovery  our project team hosted in Wylie, Texas.  
  • LA Girl Scouts – This year marked the second year in a row that our Los Angeles team celebrated Women in Construction Week with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. Female leaders from our USA Building, USA Civil and USA Commercial Development business units hosted a virtual event that included a virtual tour of our 9000 Wilshire project in Beverly Hills and a creative competition that involved Girl Scouts building a project on our 9000 Wilshire site. Read more about this fun event  here. 

Building for the next generation of STEM students 

From San Antonio, Texas to Lake Oswego, Oregon, here are some of our school projects that allow students to explore the world of STEM.  

St. Stephen’s Arts and Innovation Center, Miami, Florida 

Skanska recently constructed the 23,000 square-foot Arts and Innovation Center on the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School campus in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida. This three-level facility consists of a large community room, classrooms, breakout spaces, expanded seating areas and a small, open-air stage. 

This facility, which opened in fall 2020, is one of the leading examples of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education in early childhood development. Students learn the principles of flexibility and adaptability, multidisciplinary education, teamwork and technology-enabled, project-based outcomes. Daylighting, acoustics and technology were prioritized during the design of this facility, creating formal and informal learning environments that foster mobility and wellbeing. 

Butler Tech Natural Science Center, Monroe, Ohio 

Skanska is currently building Butler Tech’s new Natural Science Center in Monroe, Ohio. This $8 million, 24,500 square-foot academic building, which recently broke ground, will provide a permanent home for the college’s veterinary science program, as well as expanded space for at least one future program focused on alternative energies. 

Butler Tech’s Natural Science Center will feature outdoor learning commons, animal runs and horse pasture, an outdoor project area near the existing lab, a classroom building for its landscape program, expanded horse stables, a freestanding classroom, and an orchard near the north and south lawns. (Rendering by McGill Smith Punshon Inc.) 

Winton Woods South and North Campuses, Cincinnati, Ohio 

Skanska recently completed construction of Winton Woods City Schools’ North and South Campuses. This $98 million master building program included the construction of a 206,000 square-foot school that houses first through sixth grades and a 248,000 square-foot school that houses seventh through twelfth grades. 

Winton Woods is part of the New Tech Network’s project-based learning curriculum, which teaches concepts using real-world applications and situations. The campuses’ “learning stairs” provide places for students to sit and plug in their laptops so they can continue working. Both schools also contain small learning communities to facilitate collaboration.  

St. Philip’s College Bowden Campus Center, San Antonio, Texas 

Skanska is renovating the Bowden Campus Center on St. Philip’s College (SPC) campus in San Antonio, Texas. The 24,800 square-foot facility will contain new classroom and office space for SPC’s two-year cybersecurity program, which is designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education.  

The Bowden Campus Center renovation includes the addition of unique, innovative features which will provide interactive learning experiences, such as visible telecommunications cabling, cable trays, and ladder racks allowing students to see the intricacy of the systems. The lobby of the building will feature a video wall made up of six separate, interconnected monitors in a mosaic pattern that will act as one large video system to display student announcements and campus advertising. 

Specht Elementary, San Antonio, Texas 

In February 2021, Texas experienced a major power crisis which was the result of three severe winter storms sweeping across the U.S. At Comal Independent School District (CISD) Specht Elementary in San Antonio, Texas, this freeze event caused a domestic water line and fire sprinkler line to burst, and water ran for 18 hours before it was discovered. Skanska built back damaged walls, removed, cleaned and reinstalled all fan-coiled A/C units, polished the floors, and painted the walls. Our team recently welcomed Specht Elementary students and teachers back to school with Benjie’s Munch food truck.  

CISD’s Community Education Department offers a variety of summer camps for students, and several of them focus on STEM. From a Future Vets camp and a Geology and Rocks camp to a Video Game Creation camp and Lego-focused camps, Specht Elementary students can spend their summer learning. 

Collin College Wylie Campus, McKinney, Texas 

Last year, Skanska completed construction of Collin College’s Wylie Campus in McKinney, Texas. This campus offers students the opportunity to gain relevant, real-world experience in a variety of specialized facilities, including science, technology, engineering, math, fine arts, education and health care.  

Collin College’s Wylie Campus features a Campus Library with a glass-enclosed rotunda, math lab, writing center and science den; a Campus Commons with a student welcome center, science lab, fitness center and veteran’s resource center; and a Student Center with art studios, music practice rooms and conference center.  

Lakeridge Middle School, Lake Oswego, Oregon 

Skanska is currently replacing Lakeridge Middle School in Lake Oswego, Oregon. This $72.5 million project consists of demolishing the existing school, the construction of temporary classrooms, restrooms and a gymnasium, and the construction of the new school. This 138,000 square-foot middle school featuring local whole trees will accommodate 1,100 students.

A variety of STEM electives are offered to Lakeridge Middle School students, including Architectural Design, Extreme Engineering, Robotics, Science Myth Busters, Web Site Design, Environmental Research and Experimental Design, and Science of Health Careers. 

Brookline High School, Brookline, Massachusetts 

Skanska is building a $149 million, 118,000 square-foot new high school building spanning over the MBTA Green Line tracks. The building includes classrooms, a 175-seat “white box” theater, a new cafeteria, collaboration spaces, a medical clinic and general administration space.  

Part of this project includes the separate 70,000 square-foot STEM Wing Addition, which will include state-of-the-art biology and chemistry classrooms, collaboration spaces, a commercial culinary arts kitchen, and student restaurant and café seating. For physics students, the building will feature reinforced bars in the ceiling for hanging things, and space for egg drops and other large-scale experiments. 

North Carolina State University Fitts-Woolard Hall, Raleigh, North Carolina 

Skanska recently completed construction on Fitts-Woolard Hall, the 227,000 square-foot, highly technical engineering facility which features flexible and adaptable teaching and research laboratories, classrooms and offices. The university and design team’s vision for this building was engineering on display, providing transparent views into lab spaces and exposed building components to celebrate the accomplishments and aspirations of the university and its students. 

The facility’s labs and classrooms support various fields of study, including advanced materials and manufacturing, robotics and sensor technology, critical infrastructure, and energy and environmental systems. The facility also features a 22,000-gallon, below-grade water tank for a hydraulics lab. 

Western Carolina University Tom Apodaca Science Building, Cullowhee, North Carolina 

Scheduled for completion in 2022, the Tom Apodaca Science Building is a 184,700 square-foot STEM facility containing teaching labs, research labs, laboratory support spaces, offices and informal learning/collaboration spaces. The new facility supports the biology, chemistry and physics, math and computer science, geosciences and natural resources, forensic anthropology, and forensic science departments and programs. 

The spaces are designed for long-term flexibility, creating a truly interdisciplinary, state-of-the-art facility. As a nod to the local environment, re-purposed wood and other vernacular materials are used inside and out. The project also includes a 25,000 square-foot pedestrian-accessible vegetated roof with a greenhouse. (Rendering by Lord Aeck Sargent).