The ATX STEM Park began when those in the LASA robotics community realized the need for FIRST Robotic Challenge teams to have a location for a 150 pound robot to practice before competition. The school gyms were large enough but their schedules were full with sports events. We looked further afield and realized that there was no free place to use in the school district or the city.
Major steps in ATX STEM Park Process:
- Information Gathering: Meet with robotic teams, sponsors, community members, Austin City Council, Educational Institutions and Skillpoint Alliance (who organizes the regional robotic competitions) and gather the requirements for such a space. The needs will be identified and prioritized and the passion for the idea will grow and deepen.
- Revisit with many potential community partners including Dell, Skillpoint Alliance, Austin City Council, IBM and many others.
Phase I Temporary Space (2015)
- Partnership with Austin Community College for temporary 10,000 square feet space in Highland Mall.
- Launch community initiative to raise awareness within the community.
Phase II Semi-permanent Space (2016+)
- Partnership with Texas Museum of Science and Technology to provide permanent FTC and FLL fields for the community, as well as event space for on-going community out reach.
Phase III Permanent Space
- Prepare draft plan, determine location.
- Present draft Plan and Final to:
1. Austin City Planning Commission
2. Austin City Council
Permanent location will include:
- robotics shop, practice field and competition space (the size of a basketball court plus bleachers!)
- classroom space for a wide variety of STEM activities
- gathering place for students who are passionate about STEM
- not-for-profit and available to the entire community
- after-school, weekend & summer programs with hands-on activities for all ages
- a resource for scout troops, families, birthday parties and more