In September 2015 the School District of Philadelphia will open a high school-based vocational center to train students for careers in the modern manufacturing industry. The Center for Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, the first of its kind in the city, will offer a wide range of courses in everything from mechatronics to renewable energy engineering. The School District hopes the program, which will involve participation by the business and manufacturing community, will benefit Philly students by preparing them for hi-tech careers, and benefit the city at large by helping to meet growing industry needs for highly trained and skilled workers.

BWA Architecture + Planning is working with the district’s Office of Career and Technical Education on the Center, which will be located at Benjamin Franklin High School on North Broad Street. The $6 million dollar project includes extensive renovations to the basement of the high school to provide shop and learning spaces for ten separate skill areas.

As it designs the Center, BWA will look to create efficient work and learning spaces within each shop area, facilitate movement throughout the suite of spaces, and define how the Center relates to the rest of the school. The facility must provide the infrastructure for the delivery and installation of the large equipment needed for each shop and accommodate change as technologies and course offerings evolve. BWA’s design will also take into account the potential for an adult educational component and possible industry use of the Center in the evenings.

Read more from the Philadelphia City Paper and check this blog for updates as the project progresses.