FLINT (WJRT) -
(05/20/14) - It's a dusty project that Kettering University has kept under wraps for a few months now.
"We're all confused about why we keep opening these doors with all this dirt, what are all these construction crews doing? I think everybody's going to be really excited about it," said Mackenzie Stratton, Kettering University student.
Kettering's campus will soon be home to a FIRST Robotics Community Center - big enough to provide a home for eight high school robotics teams. Kettering also plans to work with smaller school districts and home school students who would like to give robotics a try.
"It's going to be very cool. We're going to have a mezzanine where people can overlook. We're going to have a practice field, team build areas and we're going to have the finest machine shop," said Bob Nichols, Kettering Alumni engagement director.
The grand opening is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 19, and it'll give Kettering something that no other university campus has.
"We're the first of its kind in the nation that has a FIRST Robotics Center - and at this size, 10,000 square feet, and Kettering University is the base, and we're pumped about it," said Jack Stock, Kettering external affairs director.
Nichols believes this new center will help in the recruiting department.
"Our students at Kettering will be mentoring the high school students, and we're going to have FIRST Lego League opportunities. We're going to be training teachers in this facility, and will attract FIRST students from around the country for sure," Nichols said.
As for this space itself, it's the old gym inside the Academic Building. It closed back in 1995 and has since been for storage.
"We've cleaned it out and turned it into a positive," Stock said.
The hope is that this FIRST Robotics Community Center will help spark population growth for the Flint area.
"The more we do this sort of thing, the more that students will graduate and stay in our area, and that's a goal at Kettering as well, to help support the community in that way," Stock said.
For updates on Kettering's new robotics center, click HERE.