Eighteen months ago, the space that is now Mountain Vista High School's STEM fabrication lab was a preschool.
With a new and growing Technology Student Association chapter fueling interest in science, technology, engineering and math exploration, technology teacher Kent Allison and others proposed converting the room into a STEM lab.
In use since October 2014, the facility celebrated its official grand opening May 11.
The lab contains a Computer Numerical Control cutting machine, 3D printers and other machines that allow students to both design and build with a variety of materials, opening what Allison described as a world of possibilities.
During the grand opening event, students demonstrated projects created in the lab. Many of those projects earned them top placement at the state TSA competition and a spot at this summer's national event.
Funding sources for Mountain Vista's STEM lab
Phase 1 (already open):
• DCSD World Class Education Innovation Grant — $7,500
• School Accountability Committee and MVHS Support for Infrastructure — $100,000-plus from site-based school budget and MVHS SAC budget
• Career Technical Education funds from DCSD — $10,000-plus
• A $90,000 grant from Morgridge Family Foundation
• $60,000 of the grant will be used for tools, equipment, robotics kits, 3D printers and other items in the engineering/tech rooms.
• The other $30,000 will be used toward a biotech lab opening in fall 2015.
• Mountain Vista will seek added funds for the lab in fall 2015.