Excitement is building around CAST Tech, the industry-led high school that will connect students with professionals in coding, gaming, cybersecurity, business entrepreneurship, and more. The team behind the first-of-its-kind campus revealed Tuesday design plans that would revolutionize two former vocational buildings located on the downtown campus of Fox Tech High School.
The human and technical elements of the campus will all be ideally calibrated to facilitate constant learning through projects, mentorship, and collaboration.
“When parents and students see what this school is going to look like, I think they are going to be blown away and excited about the possibilities,” said Kelly Flieger, CAST Tech’s principal. “It’s going to look more like a tech startup than a high school.”
In addition to instructional space, independent study and collaborative layouts will allow students to use school-issued laptops to shape the workspace around their particular projects. Students will also have the the option of workplace style “coffee talks” with partners like H-E-B, USAA, Rackspace, Geekdom, Tech Bloc, AT&T, Frost Bank, University Health System, SA Works, and Jungle Disk. Each space will be equipped with soft furniture, ample power sources, and WiFi. Embedded interactive screens will be used throughout the campus.
The building itself will be a visual aid for tech infrastructure by exposing the tangible hardware behind the innovative software. Servers will be on display behind glass walls and colored cabling will be visible through the open ceiling grid. The school will also employ the Mouse Squad, a student-led IT support and device repair service that will offer hands-on opportunities to learn and serve fellow classmates.
The entire environment will be optimized for tech work. Interior spaces will feature dynamic glass that darkens in response to the intensity of the sun and advanced lighting controls.
CAST Tech is the first of the CAST (Centers for Applied Science and Technology) campuses, an initiative of H-E-B in partnership with school districts and industry around the city. In response to the 80/20 Foundation‘s challenge to match its $600,000 contribution, school leaders announced Tuesday that Frost Bank would donate $100,000 and AT&T would give $50,000 to support the school.
80/20’s gift launched TechBloc-4-TechEd, “the largest local information technology industry campaign of its kind,” which is supported by the San Antonio Area Foundation.
This further enhances the public-private partnership spurred by Charles Butt’s $2.6 million gift and an additional $1 million from H-E-B.
“Charles Butt has been a visionary in Texas education and both he and H-E-B have been incredibly generous,” San Antonio ISD superintendent Pedro Martinez said Tuesday. “We are happy to see other industry leaders raising their hands to invest in this incredible school, which will be a national model for others to follow.”
Online applications are available here. Parents and students may also attend an information session to learn more about the innovative new school.
Information sessions will take place Wednesday, Feb. 22 and Monday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fox Tech campus, located at 637 N. Main Ave.
Disclosure: H-E-B, the 80/20 Foundation, the San Antonio Area Foundation, USAA, University Health System, Rackspace, Frost Bank, and Jungle Disk are business members of the Rivard Report. H-E-B Chairman Charles Butt and Graham Weston are individual members.