OZARK, Mo. – Students started classes at the Ozark Innovation Center (OIC) in August, but Friday was the first time the community got a chance to see it.

Before becoming the OIC, the building off of Jackson Street had a history.

“The Fasco building was a motor factory and it originally opened up in 1965,” Superintendent Dr. Chris Bauman said. It went all the way to 2003 where then the factory relocated. It has been an economic cornerstone for the community of Ozark which has really been a huge part of the development and why Ozark has become the community that it is today.”

Bauman said the district started making plans for OIC in 2018. Once they found the Fasco building, they knew it was the right choice because of its history. Construction at the old Fasco building didn’t start until 2021.

“It’s a little over 170,000 square feet,” Bauman said. “We took 11,000 square feet to turn that into the district office and then the rest of the square footage was dedicated for kids.”

Freshman through Senior students have the opportunity to take classes at OIC.

“It’s interesting to see the dynamic between the main campus and this building and just how the students react and move around the building,” Ozark High School Principal Dr. Jeremy Brownfield said. “It almost feels like you’re in two different schools when you go from this building up to the main campus.”

Brownfield said there are around 500 students at OIC during the school day.

“Part of our hope with this innovation center is kind of to allow students to bring some creativity back into their learning by getting hands-on and kind of driving what it is they want to learn as part of their experience here,” Brownfield said.

Students can take classes related to their academy, or other general courses.

“I’m here two to three days a week,” Junior Matthew Baum said. He takes engineering classes at OIC. “The thing we did most recently was that we had built a shed. After we modeled the shed, e used all the different dimensions and the different materials to calculate how much money it was going to take to purchase the concrete and the rebar within the concrete.”

The district is hopeful this will help move students forward.

“We want to make sure that we’re keeping up with the times that we’re moving and adjusting so that the curriculum and the instruction have become flexible enough and adaptable enough so that we can meet those students’ needs and passions,” Bauman said. “This facility does exactly that.”

Parts of the center are still under construction due to supply chain issues.