Hemlock – We have all heard the American idiom “soup to nuts” conveying the meaning from beginning to end. Well, if the Lockwood STEM Center was a full course meal here is the scoop - soup to nuts. Hemlock Public School District started a FIRST robotics team in 2014 as a way to provide hands-on STEM education opportunities to students. Teams grew, mentors and students were added and by early 2017 it became apparent that we did not have the equipment, or the space needed to provide a world-class experience for our kids. The future will be an exciting place full of wonderful opportunities for people with technology skills. How does a school district with a limited budget stretch to provide opportunities that its students deserve?
Phone a Friend! And that’s what the district did. We contacted Greg Turner of Pumford Construction to provide us with some advice. That early advice helped the district design and build a structure that fully meets school building code and provides a safe, comfortable environment. Not only did Pumford provide design and building services of over $70,000 it also encouraged many local businesses to make in-kind donations of rafters, sand, concrete, paint, even landscaping. Local businesses and organizations pitched in to make the project happen. Hemlock Semiconductor made a donation of $125,000, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation contributed $50,000, Dupont, Saginaw Control & Engineering, Moss, and Klimmek Technologies made monetary, labor, and material contributions of over $25,000. In total, over forty companies made contributions to support the project.
Board President, Matt Wesener says, "It has been amazing to see how far the robotics program has come in so little time. It is a shining example of what can be accomplished through the hard work of many great people in cooperation with our community and local businesses.”
So, with some help from our friends, Hemlock converted what was a fenced-in junkyard into a facility that will be used by five area schools to build, test, and compete with robots for years to come.
And it’s more than robots. The Lockwood STEM Center (LSC) hosted a weeklong SME STEM camp in the summer of 2021 that provided opportunities for students from around the county to weld, use CNC machines, code robots, and code and fly drones. The facility has hosted Lunch-And-Learns for area businesses and senior citizens. From providing a large venue for meetings and presentations to a bustling environment for afterschool programs the building gets busier every day.
School leadership is never short on ideas of how to better serve our community. Expansion of the facility is on the horizon as we are seeking to build on our existing relationships and make more friends along the way. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this exciting, meaningful endeavor.
Superintendent, Dr. Don Killingbeck said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish, when everybody works together to benefit students. The Lockwood STEM Center creates a physical footprint to the district’s commitment to excellence in education.”
If you or someone you know wants to be part of the legacy of learning at the LSC please contact Tom Lockwood (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Don Killingbeck(email@example.com).
For more information about this or other positive happenings contact Hemlock Public School District at (989) 642-5282.