When it comes to the new "STEAM" Education Center at Global Learning Charter Public School in New Bedford, Executive Director Dr. Stephen Furtado is just beaming.

"It amazes me what we can do in this building, laboratory-wise, technology-wise," he said. "It has all the bells and whistles that you need to improve kids education. It's a marvelous, marvelous complex."

Furtado joined Townsquare Sunday this week to discuss the $11 miliion project, and the road ahead for the 20-year-old charter school.

Furtado said all of Global Learning's 500 students will be taking classes in the center, which formally housed a nun's convent. The focus will be on areas like science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics.

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New Bedford native Dr. Irwin Jacobs of Qualcomm fame and his wife Joan were the biggest individual contributors to the project with a $2 million gift.

Courtesy Global Learning Charter Public School
Courtesy Global Learning Charter Public School

The center includes a "Thinkabit" lab, designed by Qualcomm in conjunction with the University of San Diego.

"We are the only Thinkabit lab on the East Coast," Furtado said. "It's where the kids can do many hands-on activities."

He said the Qualcomm technicians have been very generous with supplies and support, and they will be visiting the school in May, along with Dr. Jacobs and his wife. Fittingly, the new building will be named the "Joan and Dr. Irwin Jacobs Education Center" during a ceremony at that time.

Another important milestone for Global Learning is happening this week: the school's annual lottery. Furtado said admissions will be limited to 60 to 65 students, so with nearly 400 admission applications submitted, he admitted it will be a happy time for some families but disappointing for many others.

Furtado said even with the new building, student population at Global Learning will remain at 500 for the next few years before expansion is reconsidered.

The complete Townsquare Sunday interview with Dr. Stephen Furtado can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program, heard every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on WBSM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations striving to improve the lives of people who live and work on the SouthCoast.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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