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Mechatronics program to expand to elementary schools
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The Warren County School System is looking to expand its Mechatronics program into elementary schools using a $100,000 mobile STEM classroom.
STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math, and it can be used by elementary schools, says Director of Schools Bobby Cox.
“Tracy Risinger, our Career and Technical Education director, obtained a grant to expand the Mechatronics program we have at the high school down into the middle schools,” he said. “It would be a traveling trailer, for lack of a better term. The trailer would travel in rotation to each K-8 elementary school. Each school would have a certain period of time the trailer would be at their school to introduce middle school students to STEM areas and introduce them to what they can take at the high school.”
Learning through STEM gives students tools to develop creative and systemic problem solving, collaborative networks, leadership abilities, and long-term strategic outlooks. It’s a hands-on education that prepares students for career technical areas, which are offered at the high school level.
Bid information on purchasing a STEM classroom was presented during a county Financial Management Committee meeting.
“We had one bidder on that, a primary bid and an alternate bid,” said Cox. “I have talked to our CT person, Mrs. Risinger, and she would like to negotiate with the company to see if we want to take that alternate bid or not. She thinks there might be an opportunity to negotiate the price down lower.”
Only one offer was received. Learning Labs Inc. submitted: A STEM classroom for 30 students at $116,431 (primary) or 20 students at $106,686 (alternate). Shipping and handling for either would be close to $4,000.
County Executive Herschel Wells asked, “Should we hold off on this? We will just hold it until the next meeting and bring it back.”
Committee members elected to table the discussion and allow time for negotiation.