Down to a science: A ‘21st-century facility’ for Wisconsin students

School District of Mellen’s STEM lab undergoing a major upgrade

For 285 students in the School District of Mellen, science will soon be taking a quantum leap forward.

That’s because the school district, in northern Wisconsin, will soon be enhanced with an updated Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lab at Mellen School.

“This is my third year with the school district, and when I first came here and saw the science lab, I knew right away that something needed to be done,” says Rhonda Elmhorst-Friemoth, Superintendent of the School District of Mellen.

“I'm very passionate about making sure that children in rural areas that are economically disadvantaged have the same opportunities as students that live in other parts of the state,” she adds.

The newly renovated lab gives students the opportunity to learn about the real-life implications of STEM, develop the knowledge and skills needed to gather information and solve problems, and learn how to evaluate evidence to make decisions.

“The current lab was built in 1968 and really not set up for teaching STEM-related skills to our students. Due to school closures (during the COVID-19 pandemic), the renovation of the lab was able to begin early and we’re hoping the project will be complete by October 2020,” she explains.

The renovation project will consist of updates to facilities—including tearing out and replacing lab tables—and the purchasing of equipment, supplies, and instructional materials. Cost will be nearly $70,000, which was met through a grant from Enbridge.


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“The contribution from Enbridge has afforded us the opportunity to bring a 21st-century facility to our students. Living in a rural or economically disadvantaged area shouldn’t determine whether our students have access to those kinds of resources,” Elmhorst-Friemoth says.

Enbridge is dedicated to improving lives in communities near our operations and projects, including the Line 5 Wisconsin Segment Relocation Project, and assisting organizations and programs that offer social, cultural and educational enrichment. We’re proud to support students in the Mellen community with our sponsorship of the new STEM Lab.

“We want every student to be college and career ready—and that doesn’t necessarily mean that every student will go on to post-secondary, but that we’re helping students get the information they need to make choices for whatever their future may hold,” she explains.

The updated lab will help the district ensure students have the ability to understand and solve complex problems, and meet the demands of an ever-changing workforce.

“We're very grateful to be able to construct this new lab for our students. And we’re thankful for the partnership that the Mellen School District and Enbridge have been able to build,” says Elmhorst-Friemoth.

(TOP PHOTO: Updated STEM lab facilities at Mellen School in northern Wisconsin.)