MIAMI COUNTY — From its humble beginnings in the First Baptist church basement, Troy Christian Schools is soaring into the next century with its recent expansion to incorporate more hands-on technology opportunities for all 800 of its students.
The first two phases of the school’s “Enlarge the Tent” project are complete with the high school and elementary building’s recent expansions, which includes a STEAM wing or classroom additions.
Students are diving into the new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) opportunities, including CAD courses, hands-on robotics and engineering experiences and other science and technology-based projects, according to Superintendent Dr. Gary Wilbur.
The new STEAM wing at the high school, located on Dorset Road, brings a new realm to education. The STEAM wing includes six rooms and an IT lab to its facilities for robotics, 3-D printing, and advanced engineering classes.
“Our focus is now more on career readiness and exposing them to opportunities from a career standpoint,” Wilbur said. “Most still will go on to college, but we feel that we ought to at least be exposing them to opportunities that are out there.”
The STEAM wing’s collaboration room hosts CAD I and II, robotics programs, and a computer lab.
Dr. Wilbur shared how students recently mocked up its own drone in a class led by Principal Scott Smith who teaches several courses.
“We’ve done one prototype and the kids will be designing their own next semester,” Smith shared.
The working lab area houses the school’s workshop where robotic arms and CNC machines are used to give students hands-on opportunities through the variety of classes.
The school participated in the Extreme Bots program, with its first year under its stainless steel belt. The lab includes 3-D printers to create and make parts for their projects.
A tech class will tackle refurbishing a robot, which was donated to the school. The class will attempt to get the industrial robot up and working again as part of its coursework.
Wilbur said the school is also working to add staff with an emphasis in the technology fields with an eventual goal to open the school’s doors to the community for training opportunities.
Wilbur said local corporations spurred the drive for the STEAM wing addition and allow students the opportunities to experience real-world robotics, engineering, and CAD in their own school building.
“We kept hearing of the tremendous need (in technology) and we said we have to shift gears,” Wilbur said. “We shifted gears in the middle of the stream and we said we have got to build this now. It’s a smaller scale, but we can’t wait for the MAC to get done.”
The final phase will be the school’s new MAC (ministry, arts and career) building will include a 1,200-seat auditorium and conference room and will provide space for school and community events. Wilbur said the school will begin its fundraising campaign for the MAC center in approximately two to three years.
“I’m trying to take a breath right now before we kick that project off,” Wilbur with a smile.
The new $1.5 million addition at the elementary includes a lot more than a new technology area. It will add a new full-sized gymnasium, five new classrooms, a new kitchen and new locker rooms. The existing gymnasium also will be renovated.
The entire project, including the high school STEAM lab, elementary school addition, child care renovation and MAC center will cost around $5.2 million.
For more information, visit www.troychristianschools.org.
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