Ohio State, Battelle partner with Metro Schools to revive Indianola Middle School
Historic University District property to become STEM-focused middle and high school
The Ohio State University is partnering with Battelle and Metro Schools to remake an empty school building and give local children a focused STEM education.
Pending Ohio State Board of Trustees approval, the university will lease the property and Battelle will provide funding to renovate the historic former Indianola Middle School at 420 E. 19th Ave. Under a ground-lease, Metro Schools would operate the building as a middle and high school, adding a second location to its portfolio for a public STEM school – science, technology, engineering and math. The organization also operates the Metro Early College High School at 1929 Kenny Road in Columbus.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the university to partner with the State of Ohio, Battelle and Metro Schools to reopen a beautiful building near our own campus and invest in the future of STEM,” said Jay Kasey, senior vice president, Ohio State’s Office of Administration and Planning. “Ohio State looks forward to continuing to work with neighborhood representatives to bring this positive addition to the University District.”
Metro’s Kenny Road location will become an elementary school after the Indianola building is renovated and opened in 2024.
Ohio State purchased the former Indianola Middle School in 2017. The former city school had been vacant since 2010. Under the proposed agreement, Ohio State will lease the school that sits on 9.38 acres to Metro Schools for 30 years at no cost. Pending approval from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, Battelle and the commission will provide matching $15 million investments to renovate the building for its new use.
“Our founder envisioned an enterprise that leveraged science to reinvest in our community’s future,” said Wes Hall, Battelle’s vice president of philanthropy and education. “Metro Schools inspires and prepares students to enter today’s STEM economy and the project announced today lays the groundwork for a new expansion of that vision to help more students succeed.”
When open, the school will educate up to 1,200 students; the Kenny Road Metro school educates 970 students. Seats will be held for students who reside within the University District. Metro Schools also maintains a student body made up of 50% of students from the Columbus City School district. Interested families can sign up for notification about future enrollment opportunities here.
“We believe every student deserves a quality STEM education,” said Meka Pace, superintendent of Metro Schools. “This new opportunity, made possible by our founding partners, will mean more young people from this growing, diverse community can join our Metro family.”
Metro’s expansion is part of Battelle’s philanthropic mission to offer STEM educational opportunities to students in central Ohio. Metro opened in 2006 as one of the first STEM schools in Ohio through a partnership with Ohio State, Battelle and some Franklin County school districts. Students from all over central Ohio apply to join the school, which has a diverse student body, recorded a 100% graduation rate since opening, and has seen almost all graduates enroll in college.
Indianola Middle School was designed by Howard Dwight Smith, the architect of the Ohio Stadium “Horseshoe,” St. John Arena, Columbus City Hall and many other buildings of note on campus and in Columbus. It opened in 1909 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.