It is a new school year for Jefferson Parish students. At one academy, the word “new” has a special meaning. Students at the Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy began the 2013-2014 year in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility located in the Churchill Technology and Business Park.
Boasting three major classroom buildings, robotics/biotech laboratories and communal spaces to encourage open communication, the 102,000 square-foot project was completed just in time for students to start classes in Avondale. The school relocated from its previous home on Jefferson Highway.
The Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy plays host to some of the best and brightest students in the region. The school has been ranked one of the best in the state and the nation several years in a row by both Newsweek Magazine and U.S. News and World Report. With a major focus on mathematics, science and technology, the magnet school is ideally suited to further the mission of the Churchill Technology and Business Park. As new companies choose to call Churchill home, students at the Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy will be able to tap into an abundant supply of business resources within close proximity of the school.
Opened in 2011, the Churchill Technology and Business Park has 500-acres of undeveloped land. Located at the center of the largest intermodal transportation infrastructure in the South, Churchill is often called the “final frontier” for development in Jefferson Parish. Currently, it is home to the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) Administrative offices, the JEDCO Business Innovation Center and, most recently, the Patrick F. Taylor school. The JEDCO Conference Center is scheduled to open early next year.
The technology park is a product of The Jefferson EDGE, a strategic plan developed in 1999 to enhance the economic climate and quality of life in Jefferson Parish. Community leaders saw a need to strongly support growing technology and digital media industries and felt a park of this caliber would promote Jefferson as forward thinking, innovative and open to technological advances.
Leaders also felt strongly about fostering innovation and technological development at an early age. As plans to develop the technology park continued, Jefferson EDGE leaders approached the Jefferson Parish Public School System to gauge interest in opening a technology-based school to be housed in the technology park. Through years of collaboration and planning among JEDCO, the Jefferson Parish Public School System and community and state leaders, this major economic development project finally came to fruition.
“The opening of the Patrick F. Taylor school has been years in the making,” says JEDCO Executive Director, Jerry Bologna. “Through a collaborative effort made possible by The Jefferson EDGE Strategic Plan, the possibilities for partnership and collaboration between the Patrick F. Taylor School and the potential businesses within the technology park are endless. The school not only opens the door to new prospective businesses, but it breathes life into this community. We couldn’t be happier to welcome these students to their new home.”
“The Jefferson Parish Public School System is honored to work in partnership with JEDCO and the state to support Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy,” says Dr. James Meza, superintendent of the Jefferson Parish Public School System. “This high quality school, with its focus on STEM, will not only ensure students are provided an excellent education, but it will also help attract new businesses to the area, promoting economic development here in Jefferson.”
“We are very pleased to be in the technology park and have already had meetings to build relationships with JEDCO,” says Jaime Zapico, Principal of the Patrick F. Taylor school. “The goal is to build a partnership with a technology focus, which would benefit both the school and Jefferson Parish.”
This major economic development and educational project would not have been possible without the support of our state and community leaders. Senator John Alario played a vital role in securing funding for the school through the state.
“The opening of the Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy will be the crown jewel in the Jefferson Parish Public School System,” says Senator John Alario. “Education is the key for our future generations and economic growth.”
JEDCO continues to actively market the Churchill Technology and Business Park. For more information about the park, call (504) 875-3908 or visit www.churchillpark.org.