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Syracuse officials expect Cuomo to sign bill for STEAM high school soon

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)
The former Central Tech in Syracuse

Officials with the city of Syracuse are expecting Gov. Andrew Cuomo will soon sign legislation authorizing the creation of a countywide STEAM high school, emphasizing science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The state Assembly and Senate already passed the bill. The school is the centerpiece of Mayor Ben Walsh’s Syracuse Surge initiative, focused on economic growth in the tech sector. 

It will be the first fully built, and countywide, STEAM school in the state. Bob Andrews, director of intergovernmental affairs and shared services for the city of Syracuse, said once the governor signs the legislation, a large, substantial construction project can begin.

“This is an education project that ties into the new economy and job readiness for high school students to come straight out and be available for the new manufacturing jobs and opportunities that exist currently,” Andrews said.

More than $70 million in state aid funding is expected for the renovation of the nearly 200,000 square-foot former Central Tech building downtown.

"That revival is an energy, it's a catalyst to that neighborhood, to the city as a whole, to the energy of our region, to see things come back to life and be alive and useful in a new economy,” Andrews said.

The project brings together Onondaga County, as the initial financier, the school district, driving the educational curriculum, and the city’s engineering, legal and financial departments.

“It makes for a great partnership, but it is new and it’s different," Andrews said. "It shows the things that we’re trying to do here locally that are new and different, but that really need to happen to make our region better.”

Out of 1,000 students, 60 percent would come from the city and 40 percent would come from outside the city in Onondaga County. 14 school district superintendents have signed their support. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.