Mar 14, 2016
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The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) won a national award for installing the largest digital fabrication laboratory on a K-12 school campus in the U.S.

The 4000-square-foot Richmond Fab Lab at Kennedy High and the related Mobile Fab Lab — which were funded by a Chevron grant in partnership with the school district — took first place in the 22nd annual Magna Awards program sponsored by American School Board Journal, the National School Boards Association’s flagship magazine.

The Magna Awards recognize school districts who take “bold and innovative steps to improve the lives of their students and their communities,” district officials said. The Richmond Fab Lab took top honors in a field of nearly 200 panel-reviewed submissions.

For earning first place, WCCUSD will receive a $5,000 contribution from Sodexo during a special presentation at NSBA’s annual conference in Boston in April.

“These Magna Award-winning districts are some of the finest examples of the creativity and dedication of our public school leaders across this nation,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, NSBA.

Officials with both the district and Chevron called the honor “fantastic news” that only begins to highlight the Richmond Fab Lab’s educational potential.

The Fab Lab allows students and local residents to innovate, design and produce pretty much anything using advanced technologies such as 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, a mini-mill and more. The new district facility and Mobile Fab Lab, which will bring the technology to other district schools and community centers, has bolstered science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum at local public schools, partly by combining classroom instruction with real-world application.

For more information about the Richmond Fab Lab, visit here.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.