Announcing the Hemlock Area STEM Center - Construction Underway!

FRC Team 5712 “Gray Matter” and Hemlock Public Schools is proud to announce the construction of the Hemlock Area STEM Center. The STEM Center is a 5700sqft facility that will be located adjacent to Hemlock High School in Hemlock, MI, and will be home to all of Hemlock Public Schools Robotics programs (FLL, FTC, and FRC), as well as a shared workspace for FRC teams from 5 other local schools.

The facility will feature a full-size regulation FRC field (which can be reconfigured to accommodate FTC and FLL practice space as needed), a 15’x60’ workshop space with a Mezzanine above for storage. Additionally, the center will have secured storage cages for each team to store their equipment, and plenty of work tables for a variety of projects.

Inside Layout Concept:
View 1, View 2
Technical Design Documents

From the website:

At the new STEM Center, students will be able to practice a variety of STEM education skillsets, such as coding, computer-aided design and fabrication. FIRST Robotics programs from supported schools will also use the STEM Center as a build and practice arena.

High-school students will be able to determine if a STEM career is right for them – whether they are college-bound or entering the workforce right away – by receiving mentoring from professionals in industries such as engineering, farming and manufacturing.

In addition, the STEM Center will provide a positive and safe environment in which to cultivate academic achievement and instill a sense of pride within students.

Anyone interested in watching the build can check out our livestream from the construction site.

Feel free to ask any questions here, or follow along on our social media:
YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and our Website.


This is really cool! I’m sure you guys are eager to move in. When do they expect it to be completed?

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We haven’t gotten an updated timeline yet since COVID has messed with the schedule (we were supposed to break ground back in March), but I’ll be sure to update when we get it. That said, we expect it to be completed by this Fall. The Contractor in charge of the project (Pumford Construction) is a local company (that we have a great relationship with), as well as a sponsor, so they’re very exited to complete the project as soon as possible.


Very nice. We have debated such a project with in the teams mentors.

Looks like you did a fantastic job of fundraising.

We have never had a build site on school property.

What will be the access rules? 24/7 or will there be stipulations like school personnel required. What if schools are closed? Snow days or Covid days.

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Most team Mentors will have 24/7 badge access to the building, and we’ll likely make arrangements for area teams using the shared spaces to have some sort of access as well (though the specifics of this has yet to be determined).

Currently our school district allows us to work on Snow Days as long as we stipulate the meetings are “not mandatory” and that parents/students should prioritize safety when deciding whether or not to come in. COVID access is a different story though, since the State of Michigan mandated a total shutdown of all school buildings and activities, so we really don’t have much choice in the matter (hopefully they’ll be reopened in at least some capacity by the fall).


Is that just approx? Why not another 12sqft?


Hah, I hadn’t even noticed that! Technically 5700 is an approximation, so who knows? Maybe we’ll have to have them extend the loft by a foot or something to make it perfect. :joy:


Team 5700 the SOTA cyberdragons highly approves of the square footage.


Timelapse of the progress so far. Work resumes tomorrow!


Flooring Insulation is going in today!
(In case you hadn’t noticed from page 17 of the Technical Design Documents, the building will have in-floor heating!)

Also, providing all else goes well, we’re expecting framing to begin in the next week or two!


If you can, would you share how much it will cost to build and maintain?
And by the way, congratulations! It looks great.

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The cost for the building is expected to be around $375,000.

Initially we had looked at a few lower-cost options (like basically building a large pole barn), but the state has particular building codes for school-owned structures, so we ended up with this. That said, while it required quite a bit more fundraising, we’ll get a much nicer structure, so I can’t complain.

We don’t have an estimated cost for maintenance/upkeep, however, we do expect that the in-floor heating and the copious amount of insulation that the building is going to have will, at the very least, reduce costs over what they might otherwise be. In any case, these costs will be covered by the school district and will not come out of the teams budget.

It’s also worth noting that currently, our team occupies up to 3 different spaces in the school at any given time (our build room, an old library that’s been our practice space, and the auto shop), so centralizing everything in one place will also likely come with some cost benefits, since we won’t have to keep the lights/HVAC on in 3x different places at once.


A few quick updates:

Concrete is poured, framing starts on Monday!

Speaking of framing, one of our sponsors, Carter Lumber, donated and delivered 41x 60ft Truss sections today!

And finally, at the request of the framing contractor, starting Monday we will be reducing the Livestream to a still image that updates once every 15 minutes or so for the duration of the framing work. We’ll still continue to post periodic updates with high-resolution content here of course, and will resume livestream coverage as soon as we’re able to. :grin:


Thought this timelapse of the cement pour was pretty neat, so I figured I’d share. Enjoy!


Framing is underway and walls are going up!

The “Live” Stream is still up, now refreshing every 15 minutes!


More pictures! Truss sections going in today. First-floor framing almost complete…


Congratulations on this! How exciting for you and your stakeholders!


Finished up roof framing today!

EDIT: Also, here are a few interior pictures:


Really enjoying following this thread and watching it come together.


New update as of July 6th

We finally have a rough timeline for completion that we can make public!

  1. Building Permit
  2. Building Foundations and Backfill
  3. Site Utilities
  4. Underground Plumbing
  5. Floor prep, insulation and tubing
  6. Concrete Floor Pour
  7. Carpentry Framing
  8. Exterior Sheeting and Soffits <— We Are Here
  9. Install Doors and Windows
  10. Electrical & Pluming Rough in
  11. Building Insulation
  12. Dry Wall Hang & Finish
  13. Painting
  14. HVAC and Lighting Fixtures
  15. Exterior Grand And Landscape
  16. Final Inspections and Turnover

If all goes according to schedule (and 2020 doesn’t throw us any more curve-balls), the building should be move-in ready by September 1st!

Anyways, here’s a few more pictures:

(Outside of the building as of 7/2)

(We put a table and workbench in the space to get a rough idea of the size of everything)

(Full inside panorama)

(Outside of the building as of Today)