Cape Fear Academy on Wednesday will unveil its Science and Innovation Center, which has the goal of supporting STEM-based curriculum and fostering students' entrepreneurial skills for students.
The center is 4,200 square feet at the private school and is made up of three labs that have glass garage-style doors, moveable furniture, high ceilings and concrete floors, according to a news release. An unveiling event is planned for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The facility, which was built by Thomas Construction Group and Wells Brothers Construction, was under construction for one year. The release did not state how much the center cost to build, and the figure was not immediately available from school officials.
Carla Whitwell, middle school director at Cape Fear Academy, said the center's main purpose is to promote innovative thinking and teaching.
She said students, who return to school next week, will be able to take the concepts they have learned in their STEM classes and apply them at the center.
“They have all the skills, but what will they do with all those skills?” Whitwell said. “Students will get all those skills together with all the new technology tools to solve a problem.”
The labs will feature six 3-D printers, a 3-D scanner, CNC machines -- for cutting, carving and milling various materials -- vinyl cutters, drones and robotics equipment.
According to the school website, a new heat press will encourage students to design and custom print items such as tiles, apparel, mugs and cellphone cases.
Whitwell said the students will learn how to use the new equipment, and then they will be able to use the equipment for projects.
“If you give them a challenge and if they need to solve a problem, there is all this innovative equipment that they can use to find a solution,” Whitwell said.
There are also many entrepreneurial skills that students will be able to learn, which Whitwell said would prepare them for future careers.
“What we know is that businesses want our kids to have basic skill sets,” she said. “But there are soft skills that they need to be able to take initiative, be resilient and have curiosity.”