A new facility at Providence High School is designed to give students the knowledge and experience they need if they want to pursue a career in the technology industry.
On Thursday evening, officials from the private Catholic school in Burbank hosted a grand opening of the center that is being used by students enrolled in the Technology Focus program at Providence.
Though the new facility — which has a 32-station computer lab, four 3-D printers, a CNC machine, a mill machine and a laser cutter — made its public debut this week, it has been in use since October, said Susan Beckenham, director of the Technology Focus program at Providence.
Students get to practice their computer-aided design skills and 3-D printing of various objects. Meanwhile, students in the school's robotics club have been using the machinery and computers to build and program a robot that will be competing in this year's Botball competition.
"There's been all sorts of designing going on, and [the students] have been learning new ways to do things," she said. "We've barely scratched the surface."
The Technology Focus program is a relatively new four-year course at Providence. Beckenham, who has been at the high school for 10 years, said there have been three classes to graduate from the program.
Students focus on a different aspect of technology during each year of the program. Freshmen work on game programming, sophomores concentrate on robotics, juniors take an AP computer-science course and seniors emphasize on technology integration and social media marketing, Beckenham said.
"The whole idea of the program and the reason why it covers so many different things is to give the kids a more informed choice when they go to college," she said.
Beckenham added that with the new computer lab and machinery at her and her students' disposal, she expects the Technology Focus program to continue to grow and give students a 21st century-style of learning and a more hands-on experience.
"This room is so much more than even I envisioned," Beckenham said. "It's just tremendous."