North Texas’ Newly Opened Keith Bell Opportunity Central Adds Code Ninjas to Its Mix

Known as The OC, Forney ISD's 350,000-square-foot facility opened Feb. 2 as an "imaginative, creative, and one-of-a-kind idea that will transform the way schools and communities educate future generations." It also offers restaurants, retail, a big arena, an escape room, and soon...ninjas.

Aiming to deliver “the future of education” in a single venue, Forney ISD opened the Keith Bell Opportunity Central last month. Known as The OC, the 3-story, 350,000-square-foot facility is “part career and college center, multi-purpose complex, student-run business hub, fine arts spaces, and so much more,” the school district says.

Operating seven days a week at 680 Innovation Blvd. in Forney, east of Dallas, The OC campus features retail and restaurant spaces, professional services and entrepreneurial offices, an early childhood development center, a 600-seat theater, and an arena seating over 7,000. The multi-purpose arena will host a variety of special events, trade shows, athletic tournaments, and competitions, the school district says.

Partnering with Dallas College and Texas Tech

Around 2,000 high school students will be bused from North Forney High School and Forney High School each school day to take advantage of classes and programs available at The OC. 

But lots more learning will be going on inside the building—including college courses.

Forney ISD has partnered with Dallas College and Texas Tech University to offer programs and courses in a variety of fields, the district said. Both high school students and adults can acquire college hours and take classes toward their degrees or certifications, with night classes available.

Meanwhile, on the first floor, The OC will be open to the public for access to retail, professional services, and restaurants and cafes.There’s even an escape room at The OC.

Code Ninjas added to The OC’s mix

One of the latest additions to The OC’s lineup is Texas-based Code Ninjas, a for-profit educational organization specializing in teaching coding to kids. 

The company said its franchise agreement with The OC is the first of its kind, as the “dojo” will be located on the second floor of the newly opened facility.

“By adding Code Ninjas to The OC, we can provide our students with hands-on teaching and coding experiences to prepare them for their future careers,” Justin Terry, superintendent of Forney ISD, said in a statement. “Being able to expose the community to a new concept is very exciting. The OC is where inspiration meets innovation, and that is exactly what Code Ninjas will provide.”

Serving students from 5 to 15 years old, the Code Ninjas dojo has plenty of prospective customers in the neighborhood. It’s located directly opposite Rhodes Intermediate and Jackson Middle Schools, and a neighboring elementary school is slated to open in August.

Code Ninjas at the OC is expected to open in late spring.

Employment opportunity for students 15 to 18

In collaboration with The OC, Code Ninjas has announced a unique employment opportunity for students ages 15-18.

Students who are actively pursuing certifications and college credits in trade careers through partnerships with Dallas College, TVCC, Texas Tech University, and Indiana Wesleyan University will have the opportunity to serve as Code Ninjas “senseis.”

In that role, they will impart their knowledge and skills upon the location’s “ninjas,” fostering a community of learning and growth.

“We’re thrilled to welcome The OC to the Code Ninjas family,” Code Ninjas CEO Navin Gurnaney said in a statement. “Their commitment to motivating students with cutting-edge educational approaches, resonates deeply with our core values. We’re confident that they will be an exceptional ally in enriching the Forney community.”

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.  

R E A D   N E X T

  • Near the Trinity Trails in southwest Fort Worth, an artful oasis of calm is nearing completion. The Keith House Skyspace, a commissioned installation by internationally known artist James Turrell, is a modern-day version of a traditional Quaker meeting house.

  • Thomas sat down with Dallas Weekly's Jess Washington to talk about a range of issues her company is working on in an effort to overcome disparities in opportunity. They include skills training efforts to help people advance in the labor market; bridging the "wealth divide" by providing access to capital and tech assistance to underserved entrepreneurs; supporting efforts to revitalize underinvested communities that are facing gentrification; and more.

  • Dallas city officials have implemented a new Incentive Policy that includes a range of new tools to promote investment in underserved areas, including standardized tax abatements, community development loans and grants, predevelopment loans, and an infrastructure investment fund. These measures are expected to spur new development, create jobs, and enhance equity for all Dallas residents.

  • The DOC's Economic Development Administration is kickstarting its Tech Hubs program—part of last year's $10 billion CHIPS and Science Act—to ignite innovation in regions across the nation. Phase 1 of the application process is open. Groups of organizations, called consortia, are invited to make their mark. Tune into a webinar on May 18 to dive deeper into the possibilities.

  • Lisa Atherton, along with other board nominees, will be on the ballot at Southwest's Annual Meeting of Shareholders on May 15.