Douglas County

STEM lab opens new world to students


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

Phase 2:

• 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.


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