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Community partners provide $115,000 for Inventor Space at Park High School

Photo of District, Andersen and Andeavor leaders

Several community partners have teamed up to fund a new Inventor Space at Park High School. Once completed, the space will give students the opportunity to use high tech tools in a collaborative, supportive and educational environment.

At the September 6 School Board meeting, Paul Delahunt, President of Renewal by Andersen and Ken Atkinson and Eric Bohnert who work at the St. Paul Park Refinery, owned by Andeavor Corporation, presented Park High School with $100,000. Half of the funds came from the Andersen Foundation and the other half came from the Andeavor Foundation. The school has also received $10,000 from the 3M Foundation, $5,000 from the PPG Foundation for the project. The donations will go toward equipment for the new space, including 3D Printers, a Vinyl Cutter, Laser Engraver, CNC Machine and computers with CAD/CAM software. 

"South Washington County Schools is incredibly grateful to our community partners who made the vision for the Inventor Space a reality,” said Superintendent Keith Jacobus. “With the new space, we are confident we will be able to ignite a passion for lifelong learning with personalized lessons in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.”

“At Andeavor, we are committed to working with our community partners to create cleaner, safer, well-educated communities where we live and work. Supporting STEM education programs that help students be better prepared for academic and professional success is important to us since we employ many people with exceptional STEM skills,” said Kate Blair, Public Affairs Manager at Andeavor. “We are proud to support Park High School here in South Washington County and admire their work to help students connect the dots between what they learn in school and potential careers using science, technology, engineering or math.”

The first course to be offered in the Inventor Space will be How to Make Anything starting in the second trimester of the 2018-19 school year. More than 300 students have signed up for the project-based STEM class this year, which will offer students the chance to use high-tech software and equipment to design and create products.

“Our goal is to help provide students with opportunities for high-paying, skilled careers in their home communities,” said Park High School Principal Ginger Garksi. “We are grateful for our community partnerships that can help support our students in this way.”

The How to Make Anything course is the first step toward a new Manufacturing Pathway that will be offered at Park High School. The four-year plan to the pathway, that was presented to the School Board, will eventually cumulate in opportunities for students to earn certificates, stackable credentials and college credits through Century College, before earning their diplomas.

“Andersen is proud to support Park High School’s Inventor Space. By investing in STEM education, we are investing in future leaders and providing the resources needed to help students excel in some of the most in-demand career fields,” said Chris Galvin, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics for Andersen Corporation and a member of the Andersen Corporate Foundation Board of Directors.

Work on the Inventor Space began this summer, with new paint supplied by PPG, which operates several PPG Paints stores in the Twin Cities. Park High School was selected for the Colorful Communities Program which is PPG’s signature initiative for supporting communities. For this project, PPG supplied not only volunteers and paint products, but the company also donated $5,000 to the school to support STEM education initiatives. The Inventor Space is on track to be completed in the fall of 2018.