(New Buffalo, MI) - Robotics students at New Buffalo High School will have their own facility in a building going up soon across the street. A 10,000 square foot structure will be constructed on a narrow strip of land between Clay St. and the railroad tracks.
New Buffalo Area Schools Superintendent Jeff Leslie said the facility is also for the Performing Arts Center. Leslie said current conditions are too cramped for the robotics class and some of the work related to the Performing Arts Center.
“We’re just really crushed for space,” he said.
During the peak of their school year activities, Robotics students are moved into the library to provide the room needed for projects and prepare for competitions. The robotics students for the rest of the school year occupy one of the science classrooms.
Leslie said the new facility would also contain a woodshop and metal shop used by robotics students and Dwayne Whitmyer, Director of the Performing Arts Center. Whitmyer now uses the back of the stage to build sets and furniture for plays and musicals.
“It’s just not an acceptable space for him for what he’s trying to accomplish,” Leslie said.
The new facility also includes plenty of room for storage by the Performing Arts Center.
“As these programs grow, we just got to have the space to grow along with them,” Leslie said.
Leslie said a retention pond about half the size of the building would also be constructed for drainage because of how high the water table is in that part of the city. He said the metal-sided building should begin going up in October, with completion likely next summer.
The work also includes constructing six pickleball courts in a grassy area between the existing tennis courts and the school district transportation building. Leslie said the three existing pickleball courts used heavily in a sport growing in popularity would be replaced by an expanded basketball court and skate park.
The current basketball court will have two goals at each end, and a soft sport court surface will also be laid over the existing concrete. A pavilion with restroom facilities and drinking fountains will also go up close to the new pickleball courts.
Leslie said the price tag for all of the work should be about $4 million.