TOWN OF BELOIT—Beloit Turner High School tech ed teacher Nolan Otremba said he is excited for students to have a brand new “digital maker space,” thanks in part to a recent state grant.
Turner Schools Superintendent Dennis McCarthy announced that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded the school district a $25,000 grant to help fund its new Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) facilities.
It is the second year in a row that the School District of Beloit Turner has received the grant through the WEDC’s Fab Labs Grant Program, McCarthy said.
“This is a significant investment in the equipment needed for our new fab lab, which is set to open this fall. It is also a testament to our teaching staff and the effort needed to write this grant. We especially want to recognize the work of Mr. Nolan Otremba in the preparation of this grant application,” McCarthy said.
Otremba said the funding will go towards buying tools such as 3-D printers, plasma cutters, laser engravers and computer numerical control machines.
If a student has a concept for a new technology or engineering design, they can create that idea virtually and make their idea tangible.
And with the Turner district paying contractors to add more high school classrooms as part of its STEAM project, Otremba said the timing is right to invest further.
A total of 31 school districts in Wisconsin received a combined $693,200 in Fab Lab grant funding this year, according to a WEDC news release.
“WEDC has invested over $2.8 million for the past five years to provide 77 school districts across the state with the equipment necessary to help students learn high-demand skills, including technology, manufacturing and engineering,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Fab labs benefit not only the students themselves with important technology and career skills, but they also benefit Wisconsin employers, who will be able to find workers with the right skills to allow their companies to grow and thrive.”