Home » Toyota donates Erlanger lab for STEAM-focused education center

Toyota donates Erlanger lab for STEAM-focused education center

Will open for 2019-20 school year

ERLANGER, Ky. (March 17, 2017) — Toyota announced today that it is donating its Quality and Production Engineering Laboratory on its campus in Erlanger to develop a STEAM-focused education center to serve the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region. The new school, scheduled to be ready for students in fall 2019, will be called the Ignite Institute at Roebling Innovation Center.

Ignite_Building_Exterior_01_D8B71AD54035EC59AEC69B68D9B80F9D3C99B19C_lowBoone County Schools will manage the center and it will operate as a Boone County District of Innovation School of Choice. The district will own and operate the building, the grounds and all facilities. The goal is also to assemble a board of advisors of business and other leaders and to create a foundation to support the center.

The school will open initially for grades 9 through 12, with a capacity to serve 1,000 students. It will be public, free and inclusive. Organizers envision it serving students throughout Northern Kentucky and, with additional private support and funding, the expectation is it will serve students from urban to rural areas throughout the Tri-State.

Gov. Matt Bevin announced a $6.8 million Work Ready Skills initiative grant to Boone County Schools to adapt Toyota’s office and engineering lab into a school.

The school will be funded with both public school dollars and, it is hoped, private support in order to serve students from a diverse range of socioeconomic, demographic and geographic areas.  Admission will be based on a student’s desire to learn in an environment where the unique skill sets required for 21st century employment opportunities are the focus.

The goal of Ignite Institute is threefold: to open a world of possibilities for students through science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics; to fill the workforce pipeline with creative  and educated workers for the future; and to help make the Tri-State a magnet for high-value industries, enabling it to compete globally and elevating opportunity for all in the region.

The facility will support other activities and is envisioned to be a collaborative space for educators, a center for business engagement, a potential national hub for STEAM teacher training, and an early childhood education center. The center’s name is inspired by John A. Roebling (1806-1869), who designed one of the region’s most distinctive landmarks, the suspension bridge spanning the Ohio River. Not only was he an internationally known engineer, Roebling was a student of philosophy, a civic and moral leader, and a successful businessman and manufacturer.

Toyota’s Quality and Engineering Laboratory facility is a 183,000-square-foot, two-story building. It has expansive lab and engineering workspaces, high bay equipment areas, office spaces, high ceilings to accommodate robotics/automation, several mezzanines, and multiple elevators. The gift also includes approximately 22 acres and adjacent parking lots.

Toyota still occupies the Erlanger campus but has been transitioning from it as the company consolidates its North American headquarters in Texas. Its final team member groups are scheduled to move from the lab building by the end of 2017.