SPARTA, NJ – The Robotic program at Sparta High School is growing so much that they were bursting at the seams. Over the summer the robotics room was expanded and improved to meet the needs of the popular program.
Robotics I and II, How Things Work, Tech Foundations along with the Robotics Club will all be making use of the space. The room is divided into areas. One side of the room has work benches “with lots of storage for table top projects,” Teacher and Coach Mark Meola said.
The other side of the room is equipped with power tools and machines including a press break for bending, a sander, drilling and milling machine, a band saw and a shear, Meola said. Previously the students and team members had to make due with a “three-pound sledge hammer, hack saw and a vice; effective but primitive,” according to Meola.
In addition to the power tools and work benches there are small but important improvements. Improved lighting, power cords over the work areas, space for a robotic competition field and Meola’s favorite improvement, a door into the adjacent storage room.
Team members said the improved space is “fantastic” and “beautiful.”
The robotics program began with Legos funded by the school district. The program grew as part of the curriculum when the high school was reconstructed, with grant funding from the Sparta Education Foundation.
“The district started it and the Sparta Education Foundation allowed it to grow,” Meola said.
There are approximately 200 students in Robotics I and II and students in the other classes held in the room. The Robotics Club has 30 members this year.
The VEX Robotics team held their first competition last year and will be hosting again this year on January 6. They will also be hosting a middle school competition on November 18. The high school team is also pairing up with Robot Revolution to hold a FIRST Lego League competition at the Sparta Middle School as a fundraiser.