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July 18, 2013

TC West Robotics Lab on November ballot

TRAVERSE CITY — Students in Philip Leete’s West Senior High School robotics program spend a lot of time packing and unpacking a utility closet.

West Senior High doesn’t have a robotics lab, so students store equipment in a closet and drift between unoccupied classrooms. The exercise wastes valuable time and effort, Leete said.

“You can’t spend the hour you have a day hauling and moving and setting up and cleaning up,” he said.

Leete said things needs to change if Traverse City residents want their children ready and able to work in a field he referred to as “mechatronics,” the crossroads of computer engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science.

Voters will have a chance to effect that change in November. Traverse City Area Public Schools’ $35-million capital improvement bond proposal includes $3.2 million for construction of a robotics lab at West Senior High.

“Having your own home is a big deal,” Leete said of the proposed lab.

TCAPS is floating a separate $13 million bond proposal for construction of a new auditorium at Central High School.

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