DEEP DEPTH: The FWCS Amp Lab: Inside the Build

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WPTA) – Connectors. Creators. Innovators. Amplifiers. These are the kind of students that Fort Wayne Community Schools look forward to welcoming in August when they open the Amp Lab at Electric Works.

Beginning next school year, FWCS’ Amp Lab will give 400 11th and 12th graders from the school district’s five area high schools the opportunity to enhance their educational experience. FWCS describes the Amp Lab as a unique learning environment designed for students from diverse backgrounds to gain real-world experience in an innovative and agile setting. We spoke with Amp Lab Director Riley Johnson about their preparations for opening this fall.

“The Amp Lab is a bit ambiguous and we did that to keep it as nimble as possible. We did that to not get locked into one thing and we wouldn’t have to be that thing forever, but we can really personalize the experience for each student but also for the community.

While the facilities are still being set up, the staff is thinking of ways to shape the culture of the Amp Lab for the students. Johnson shares some of the questions they have, such as “How do we create opportunities for students to work with companies and organizations to solve real problems?” and “How do we give students time in space resources to pursue their own dreams?” Whether it means having a business venture that they want to see established if that is a viable option. Or if they have a community issue they want to solve. Maybe it’s just an action research project. Johnson says, “Things that don’t normally fall into the school day, we want to create that space for that.”

Here’s how the school day will work. Students will split their days in half, spending half the day at their comprehensive high school taking core lessons and the other half of their day at the Amp Lab, bringing their learning to life.

Johnson tells us the lab exists to create opportunities for students to explore their passions, apply their talents, and make the community a better place.

“We designed the space to really be one of two things, a resource for students to dive headfirst into the depths, in a specific area. Or. A place where students can learn skills across the range and so each studio serves a different purpose.

The Amp Lab will house some of the following:

– Grow Studio, a scientific research and development laboratory with an indoor greenhouse.

– Make Studio where students can create prototypes with equipment such as 3D printing and woodworking.

– Venture Studio is a collaborative lab where students can imagine and brainstorm.

– The Create Studio is for content creators who want to produce music, video, animation and graphic design.

The Fort Wayne Community School Amp Lab at Electric Works is scheduled to open August 10, 2022.

Learn more about Amp Lab on the Electric Works website (

Companies interested in partnering with Amp Lab can contact Johnson at [email protected]

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About Geraldine Higgins

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