The University of Texas at Tyler will invest approximately $600,000 to make safety renovations to the Innovation Academy STEM charter school facility in Palestine. The renovations on the Innovation Academy will commence as soon as possible. No date has been set on completion.
University officials made the announcement at a town hall today in Palestine to parents of students attending the school.
The Innovation Academy in Palestine closed its primary building last summer after the state fire marshal flagged safety concerns. A short-term facility solution utilizing Mathis Hall on UT Tyler’s extension campus in Palestine allowed classes to continue this academic year.
“We spent hundreds of hours over six months examining dozens of options as a part of our due diligence to find a viable solution for Innovation Academy in Palestine,” said Dr. Michael Tidwell, President. “We looked at renovation, alternative sites and various partnerships. We had hundreds of conversations with various stakeholders in Palestine.”
The university will pay for the renovations by utilizing the Innovation Academy rainy-day fund. This fund serves as reserves for the three Innovation Academy campuses located in Palestine, Longview and Tyler.
“We are limited on which funds we can use for facilities for non-college students,” said Dr. Ross Sherman, Dean of the College of Education and Psychology. “Using the rainy-day funds of the Innovation Academies wasn’t our first choice, but ended up being the only realistic option.”
In addition to the Innovation Academy, the College of Education and Psychology also operates the East Texas Center for School Based Research and Instruction and the K-16 Literacy Center. Through these and other efforts, UT Tyler is committed to helping to improve the quality of all K-12 education in East Texas.
A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.