Toyota donates engineering lab to northern Kentucky school district

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ERLANGER, Ky. – Toyota is donating an engineering lab that was part of its North American engineering and manufacturing headquarters to the Boone County School District to be used to teach science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Toyota announced three years ago that is moving employees out of the Erlanger operation, relocating employees to Texas by the end of 2017.

Gov. Matt Bevin announced a $6.8 million state grant on Friday to convert the building, which is scheduled to be ready for up to 1,000 high school students by the start of the 2019 school year.

“It is exciting to see dynamic regional partnerships coalescing around the new Work Ready Skills Initiative, as we seek to transform workforce training in the commonwealth,” Bevin said. “I applaud this innovative collaboration between Toyota and local education, business and community partners.”

The gift from Toyota includes a 183,000-square-foot, two-story building, 22 acres of green space, and with 580 parking places.

Administrators said the school will be especially appealing to students who prefer project-based, hands-on, collaborative education. Programs will focus on problem solving, teamwork, and non-traditional approaches to learning.

Admission will not be based on GPA, but on a desire to learn the unique skills required for 21st Century employment.

The Ignite Institute will feature large open classrooms; project spaces with flexible seating, collaborative spaces, glass-walled small meeting areas and study rooms, an open cafeteria, art and video production areas, robotic and automation labs, fabrication and arts labs, a health sciences area, manufacturing and logistics education areas, a theater, and a teacher-training center.

Trey Grayson, head of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said Toyota’s parting gift to the region will have a tremendous impact.

“It will be transformative ‒ not only for students and educators, but for business and industry,” he said.

Toyota still occupies the Erlanger campus but has been transitioning from it as the company consolidates its North American headquarters in Texas. The last of its employees are scheduled to move from the lab building by the end of 2017.

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