Fab Lab coming to Vancleave
The Jackson County School District is taking STEM education to a new level with the first ever international fabrication lab, or Fab Lab, in the state of Mississippi. Today, the school district joined together with the Fab Foundation and Chevron to unveil plans for the $1.2 million project in Vancleave.
An empty building on Highway 57 in Vancleave will be taken from drab to fab toward the end of this year with plans for a $1.2 million state of the art Fab Lab unveiled at Vancleave High School. Vancleave Middle School sixth grader Addison Arthur said, “I’d really like to go into technology since I really love computers and everything like that. I feel like I would do good with computers and designing, especially designing. 3D creating and everything like that, I just think it’s really cool.”
And sixth grader Addison Arthur’s dreams may be realized with the help of the new Fab Lab, thanks to a partnership between the Fab Foundation and Chevron, giving students hands-on experience working with tools used today in STEM related industries, giving these future inventors the resources to create, experiment, and build their skills in STEM. Chevron Refinery General Manager Bruce Chinn said, “Included in the lab experience really are some hands on tools where young people are able to go from design to model, model to prototype to final design, and they have various tools to be able to do that, laser cutters, 3d printers, in addition to the computer models that help them to be able to create those designs.”
Expected to be ready for use toward the end of this year, the stationary Fab Lab will be used as a community resource along with a mobile unit that will travel to different schools and parts of the county, available to local students, teachers and even community members looking to learn. Jackson County Superintendent Dr. Barry Amacker said, “This is the start. This is phase one and I’m convinced that it’s going to take off and we probably will have to build a bigger better site down the line, that’s my optimism.”
“I feel it’s an amazing opportunity for kids to learn about engineering because so many people are in the engineering business and everything like that and it’s just a great opportunity for small children to learn about their future and everything,” said Addison.