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Chemours, EastSide Charter break ground on STEM Hub

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Chemours STEM Hub at EastSide Charter groundbreaking  Wilmington Riverside

Students and faculty from EastSide Charter School join elected officials, corporate leaders, and supporters in celebrating the groundbreaking for the Chemours STEM Hub at Eastside Charter School. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CHEMOURS

WILMINGTON – The students at the EastSide Charter School in Riverside, and their greater Wilmington community, will soon have access to top science and math resources and mentoring after the school and its partner Chemours broke ground Wednesday on a new community STEM facility.

The new 24,000-square-foot Chemours STEM Hub at EastSide Charter School will house ESCS APEX (Middle School Honors) and STEM programs and include a maker’s space, 3D printing, engineering, and other STEM-related activities. The impact of the Hub will extend beyond the school day as it will double as a community center after-school, on weekends, and in the summer. Out-of-school programming will include mentoring, robotics, coding, chemistry, biology, renewable energy, and Science Olympiad competitions.

The project was made possible through donations from corporate partners, including a $4 million  grant Chemours made in 2021 through its ChemFEST school partnership program and a $1 million donation from Barclays.

“Shaping the world’s future through the power of our chemistry requires great innovators and problem solvers from all backgrounds. And ensuring we have a robust pipeline of future STEM talent requires strategic investments to nurture students and members of communities who have been underserved, under-resourced, and often overlooked,” said Mark Newman, president and CEO of Chemours, in a statement marking the occasion. “Our ChemFEST school partnership program provides greater access and support so students can grow, explore, and achieve their dreams. We’re excited to take another step closer to opening the doors on the Chemours STEM Hub at EastSide Charter School.”

The STEM Hub, being built in the school’s old parking lot at 3000 N Claymont St., is anticipated to be completed for the start of the 2024-2025 school year. Among its purposes is to expose underrepresented populations to the sciences to help diversify the state’s workforce. EastSide Charter serves a predominantly Black community in Riverside.

“We are stronger and better when we work together. And in a state with an impressive amount of STEM career opportunities, we do not have community spaces to prepare our citizens for these opportunities,” said Aaron Bass, CEO at EastSide Charter School, in a statement. “The new Chemours STEM Hub at EastSide Charter School will allow students to receive world-class instruction from titans in the STEM field and gain skills that can improve their lives. Additionally, parents will have the opportunity to gain job skills and interview with STEM-focused businesses. The Chemours STEM Hub will be where community members, corporations, and educators can unite to transform our state.”

The STEM Hub is part of a more than $22 million expansion of the 25-year-old, independent charter school that serves about 475 students. It will help grow the

“EastSide is bursting at the seams right now,” Charlie McDowell, the board chair for the school, said last summer, noting that the expansion will allow it to double the cafeteria size, add classrooms and offer communal space.

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