HAMMOND - A high school in Hammond is looking to invest $1 million in project aimed at preparation for careers in science, technology, engineering, performing arts, and math. Bishop Noll Institute says it will renovate a former natatorium into a state-of-the-art STREAM Lab and Innovation Center, which is expected to open in time for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The project will be funded primarily through the school's Ignite & Inspire capital campaign. BNI President Paul Mullaney says the lab will be the centerpiece of the school's effort to be the first elite STREAM school in Indiana.

Bishop Noll says the STREAM Lab builds on STEM education but expands it to incorporate religion and the arts, which Principal Lorenza Jara Pastrick says are two of the school's curricular hallmarks.

"It truly is who we are," Pastrick said in a news release. "As principal, it is my goal to elevate Bishop Noll to become the first elite, fully-integrated STREAM high school in Indiana as we propel BNI into a new century of learning and a second century of service to northwest Indiana and southeast Chicagoland."

The STREAM Lab will include a learning studio and design lab, a makerspace, and a prototype studio for students to build models and use larger equipment. Pastrick says the facility will enhance the school's existing STREAM efforts, which includes an introductory course taken by all freshman and various elective courses in engineering, computer programming, and biomedical. 

Bishop Noll says the renovation of the former natatorium will bring new life to the area, which has not been used for swimming in more than 20 years and, since 2010, has been used as a multipurpose facility.