NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho School District has a new building, and — at the same time — a piece of downtown Neosho history.

The district will turn the Haas Building into a new STEAM Academy.

The district has been looking to implement a STEAM academy for quite some time. Standing for science, technology, engineering, art and math. It will focus on more problem based, hands on learning.

“What we will do is imbed specific content that relates to science or that relates to engineering. And one of the ways that we can do that is through hands on learning,” said Melissa Oates – Future STEAM Academy Principal.

With the purchase of the old Haas Building, the district will be able to do just that. They’ll also be able to expand the capacity of their elementary schools by upwards of 20%.

“Expand the capacity of our elementary capability. So, we have five elementary schools, and this will allow us basically to add a sixth elementary school,” said Dr. Jim Cummins – Neosho Schools Superintendent.

This “sixth elementary school” cost the district one-point-one-five million dollars. Much cheaper and a better location than some of the other schools in the district.

“When you’re downtown it allows you to walk to some things that are closer that other schools can’t walk to. They can’t walk to the city park, can’t walk to the square,” said Dr. Cummins.

Oates adds in the meantime they are getting ready for daily, week long and month long projects for students.

“We’re kind of piloting some of those things now, so that when we open the STEAM Academy, we’ve got really just full steam ahead,” said Oates.

The next step is having engineers inspect the building to make sure it’s safe. The goal is to have the building ready for the fall of 2023.