Bond-funded portion of Discovery Lab opens to TPS students

March 3, 2022 9:32 pm

Instead of sitting down for science class Tuesday, more than 200 Tulsa third-graders spent their morning making Leyden jars and checking out a maze of duct-tape tunnels.

Students from Bell, Hamilton, Kerr, Lewis and Clark, and Peary elementary schools were the first to visit Tulsa Public Schools’ new STEAM Center at the Discovery Lab.

The district’s $415 million bond package in 2015 included funds originally earmarked for a standalone STEM center. However, with the blessing of its bond oversight committee, the project morphed in 2017 to instead be five 900-square-foot classrooms on the second floor of the Discovery Lab’s new 57,000-square-foot-facility at the southeast corner of 31st Street and Riverside Drive.

Those classrooms will be available to all TPS classes in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, with up to 1,300 students expected to use the space each week.

“Right after the passage of the 2015 bond, there were discussions of us building our own STEM Center,” bond project manager Ellen Duecker said. “We realized with the economic conditions changing, we did not have the resources to staff and support that. We heard about the Children’s Museum building a new Discovery Lab, and they were more than enthusiastic about creating this partnership.”