It is nothing short of a miracle, but with a lot of hard work and a dream, Francis Tuttle Technology Center opened its new 155,000 square-foot campus located at 3841 E. Danforth Road in Aug. 2021. With construction beginning in 2019, builders had no idea what was in store over the next several months but the Francis Tuttle team, ambitious to welcome students to the innovative and somewhat industrial halls of their new campus, opened the doors to their new creative tech center ahead of schedule.
Upon entering the building, guests, students, and staff are greeted by tall ceilings, imaginative workspaces, and hallways lined with colorful artwork.
“We really wanted it to be the campus of the future,” Superintendent Dr. Michelle Keylon said with a smile.
When touring the campus, guests will see a variety of workspaces to encourage every type of learner the opportunity to explore education in a way that feels comfortable to them. Everything from furniture shaped like a question mark to individual learning pods is positioned throughout the different classrooms and conference spaces.
The inspiration comes from David Thornburg’s learning spaces “caves, watering holes, and campfires,” according to the Francis Tuttle team—meaning that students can learn from an expert, from self-reflection, and from their peers.
Some of the programs offered at the campus include pre-nursing, automotive, interactive media, cosmetology, and the entrepreneurship academy. “Our Entrepreneurship Academy is a 3-year college preparatory program that allows high school students to take rigorous math and science courses as well as pursue their passion of business ownership,” Khaaliq Salim, Director of the Danforth campus said. “Each student will be mentored and advised by local entrepreneurs and business experts as they go through the stages of operating their own businesses.”
Some of the innovative spaces that students can use as they go through these programs are the Design Thinking spaces and the Product Realization Lab where future entrepreneurs can create prototypes of their products using 3-D printers, woodworking stations, and even Vex Robotics.
If product design isn’t your forte, there is no shortage of programs to attract the interest of creative and imaginative students. Masterpiece is the name of what many would call a high-end salon located in the halls of the campus. Rows of cosmetology students can be seen practicing their trade guided by a certified instructor. Upon completion of the program, students are ready to become board certified.
Ninety percent of the students accepted for programs at the Danforth campus are high school students; the other ten percent are adult learners. “High school students are given priority over adult students since they live in our district and (their parents) pay ad valorem taxes, which is a big part of our funding structure,” according to Salim.
Beyond all the programs offered to students, the Danforth campus is a great resource for business owners and local community members. In the future, the Edmond community can expect the rollout of additional services and opportunities available.
To stay up to date with what is happening at the brand new campus, follow the Danforth campus on Instagram @francis.tuttle.danforth. For more information about programs and eligibility, check out their website.
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About Casey Farmer
Casey leads all storytelling, creative content development and communications for OK Catalyst, a research and development program within the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma. OK Catalyst programs mentor and teach researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs how to use SBIR funding to launch new products and grow their businesses. Casey also serves as the VP of Communication for IABC Central Oklahoma, a non-profit, professional development organization.