When the General Assembly passed the state budget last month, lawmakers secured $33 million for renovating WKU science buildings and more than $3 million for the proposed Kentucky Academy for Math and Science.
Legislators, like House Speaker Jody Richards, say they look at funding the academy as an investment, one that will carry a big return in the future.
"We have to make sure the funding is there and the program is there so our kids can have a good opportunity for the best education in America."
Math and science are two subject areas people typically don't score well in, but Western officials are hoping the academy will help change that in the future.
"We haven't challenged students or prepared them at the elementary level so when they get into high school, they are not working at their best level."
Western's Dr. Sam Evans says the new center is expected to draw students with exceptional abilities in math or science to a program that would condense high school into two years and allow students to earn college credit.
"Instead of participating in their last two years of high school, juniors and seniors can stay at Western with credits going back to their schools."
Western hopes the academy will prompt students to return to the area to work after graduation.
Florence-Schneider Hall will house the academy. 200 Kentucky high school students will be accepted. Construction is set to begin sometime in 2006.