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Damiaen Florian and Bailey Kahl, standing left to right, and Daniel Arnson and Phi Trinh, below left to right, surround “Oddjob,” the robot.

Local firm offers robotics team practice space

SOUTHINGTON — The high school’s robotics team has found a new home to practice battling their robots with others for upcoming competitions in 2014.

A 4,000-square-foot building with high ceilings at Mohawk Northeast Inc., a construction and engineering company, will host the practice field for the robotics team beginning in January. Al Heinkie, Mohawk Northeast owner, offered the space to the team after a student mentioned that they were looking.

For the past five seasons, Saucier Mechanical Services in Plantsville donated space at its business for the students on the team to use, Robotics team mentor Sandra Brino said. Space consists of six classrooms, a meeting space and a building space, Brino said. The business also gave the team a facility to use next to the classroom space for testing out robots. Since they can no longer use the space to practice using the robots, the team had to look elsewhere.

“We knew it was a limited time. We could only stay there for three years,” Brino said. “We knew this day was coming, so we began to seek opportunities from other companies that may be able to provide us just the practice field space.”

The game for the competition won’t be announced until Jan. 4, so students won’t begin their designs or building the robots until then. Brino said the team will build a twin robot, or replica of the one they will use in competition to practice on. Inviting teams from different schools is a good way for the students to practice and get used to what a competition will be like, Brino said.

Tiger Enterprises Inc., a metal stamping company in Plantsville, has also been lending space to the team so it can mold and create the parts for the robot.

School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said businesses have always been more than helpful with students and groups at schools. He hopes students will not only learn skills that will help them in the workforce, but also learn to give back to the community “down the road” as the businesses did for their team. “They always find a way to step up for the kids,” Erardi said. “This is a great example.”

fduffany@record-journal.com (203) 317-2212 Twitter: @FollowingFarrah



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