Gov. Authorizes $1 million RACP for Building 21 in Allentown

HARRISBURG (October 18, 2016) — Governor Tom Wolf approved the release of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding, which had previously received legislative authorization, for Building 21 Allentown, according to Senator Pat Browne and Representatives Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer.

Building 21 Allentown, which opened its doors for the first time in the fall of 2015, is an alternative education high school that focuses on project-based learning in non-traditional classroom settings with more industry-focused and student-centered learning environments.

“I congratulate officials with the Allentown School District and Building 21 Allentown for developing innovative ways for students, who may not flourish in the traditional high school classroom setting, to receive a more hands-on, small group education that provides them a greater opportunity to succeed later in life,” Senator Browne said. “I am pleased that the legislature and the Governor approved this RACP funding for an extremely important education initiative here in Allentown.”

The $1 million RACP funding will help with school renovations that will enable creation of cutting-edge 21st century learning spaces that allow for the integration of technology into the classrooms and the flexible grouping of students, while creating an environment conductive to applied and project-based learning.

“Building 21 is a great example of a school district recognizing the needs of students in the 21st century,” said Representative Schlossberg. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Governor Wolf, Senator Browne, Representative Schweyer and District leaders to support Building 21. It is a great example of what happens when everybody is working toward the same goal.”

“As a proud ASD parent, I know that we have excellent teachers working in our district and parents who want to provide every opportunity for success to their children,” Representative Schweyer said. “Building 21 offers another public school option for these students to be exposed to a world of opportunity that awaits them when they graduate. I am pleased that the funding has been approved.”

Allentown School District officials and business and community leaders developed plans for this unique school with the goals of helping to reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates within the Allentown School District, while at the same time providing a seamless transition for students from high school to high-skilled jobs or college.

“This project will build upon the great work being done in Allentown by the school district and these legislators to provide the resources needed to train and educate a skilled workforce,” Governor Wolf said.

Building 21 has received tremendous support from the business community with students having the ability to blend education and business learning experiences through internships, job shadowing and mentoring programs.

The intent of RACP funding is to provide much needed economic stimulus to the Pennsylvania economy and to assist in the immediate creation of quality, family-sustaining jobs for Pennsylvania. Building 21 Allentown’s mission is a reflection of both goals.

With space limited, students are selected through a random lottery. The school started in September 2015 with 150 freshmen. Each year, the school will add another grade with up to 150 students in that grade. Eventually, Building 21 Allentown could have as many as 600 students.

 

Contact:
Matt Moyer             (Senator Browne) 717-787-1349, mmoyer@pasen.gov
Jeffrey Sheridan    (Governor Wolf) 717-783-1116, jesheridan@pa.gov
Charlie Vaihinger  (Representative Schlossberg) 717-787-7895, cvaihinger@pahouse.net
Nancy Wilt              (Representative Schweyer) 610-791-6270, nwilt@pahouse.net