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By Lonnie Huhman,

lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com

More space and working together under one roof are two of the many great things about the new Chelsea Robotics Center.

Located at the Washington Street Education Center/Community Center, the new space, unveiled last month, gives kids in the Chelsea School District an opportunity they didn’t have before.

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“I like it,” said sophomore Ian Carter walking into the center to practice with the high school’s FIRST Robotics team.

“It’s a lot better set up and gives us more space,” said junior Ben Polens.

Robotics booster, parent and coach Steve Eberle echoed their sentiment. He said the ability to have the students from different grades working and learning together in the same location is huge.

“We were hoping for some more space, but we didn’t imagine the school district would offer this up,” Eberle said.

He said it allows for so much, especially chances to collaborate.

A big reason why the district dedicated this new space was what CSD Superintendent Julie Helber said about the robotics program, which has grown over the past three years.

“We now have programs running from kindergarten through grade 12 and several teams that compete,” she said.

However, there were some challenges for the program.

“The teams were using space all across the district, which made collaboration difficult,” Helber said. “There were other logistical issues that they were dealing with because they didn’t really have a home base.”

She said that changed when the space in the 100 building became available this year.

“We decided that we would dedicate the space to our k-12 Robotics Program,” Helber said.

The new center also has space for building and designing the robots.

She said having, “the students all under one roof allows for shared resources and collaboration.”

Also, she said, “We have so many volunteers from the community that help at each level, having them all together will build community and a shared purpose and continue to grow the program. We are very excited to see this program evolve.”

Duane Moss, who teaches robotics at the high school, said he is, “extremely excited for the opportunities our dedicated FIRST Robotics center will have for all students in our district.”

He said FIRST Robotics is a worldwide program that immerses students in all things STEAM-Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.

“The center will allow students of all age groups to come together during their respective season, to design, build and test their team’s robot,” Moss said. “The discipline of robotics is an excellent vehicle that allows students to communicate, collaborate, apply critical thinking and creativity, all components of our districts Portrait of a Graduate. Robotics truly is interdisciplinary and we look forward to the positive impact the center will have on our students.”

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