A state champion robotics team was honored and several new improvements to school facilities were discussed Wednesday during a regular Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education meeting.
The middle school robotics team, made up of students in grades 6-8, was one of four Hillsboro Middle School teams that qualified for the state competition out of more than 150 teams statewide. This is just the second year HMS has had a robotics team.
The members of the state championship team are Coltin Hunter, Emma Lane, Miriam Snavely and Blake Tira. They will now advance to the world tournament April 19-23 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky.
“Robotics is a wonderful program for students. Teams must maintain a detailed analysis of their progress via an engineering notebook, which must adhere to the engineering design process,” team adviser T.J. Crowder said in a news release earlier this month. “Students must also build a strong, competitive robot to withstand the test of multiple rounds of gameplay throughout a competition. By doing so, teams are then scored upon their knowledge of robotics, and then interviewed by a panel of professionals during a competition.”
The four Hillsboro Middle School robotics teams were among just 30 that qualified for the state competition.
Crowder said the teams have qualified for multiple accolades during the season including tournament finalists and design and excellence awards.
Superintendent Jim Smith said the school hopes to have a high school robotics team next year.
The board also recognized and heard a presentation from the Intermediate Student Council represented by Sophie Snively, president; Carson Scott, vice president; Gracie Thoroman, treasurer; Emma Johnson, secretary; and Marah Roush, reporter.
In other news, the board approved renovations to the four current tennis courts, plus the addition of two more courts.
Smith said the current courts were built on poor base, have aged prematurely, and that another base layer will be put down.
High school tennis facilities ideally have at least five courts because there are five matches (three singles and two doubles) during a contest. Smith said the sixth court would be used for practice and warmup during matches, and that the addition would allow the school to host league tournaments “and anything else that comes our way.”
“It also allows all five matches to be played at the same time without doubling up (on one court) and sometimes we may be able to schedule reserve and varsity matches on the same evening,” Smith said.
Since boys play tennis in the spring and girls in the fall, the plans is for the work to be completed between seasons.
Smith also said there are plans to place crosswalks with signage behind the high school/middle school building leading to the new Sam Barnhouse Center, that there are plans to install sprinkler systems for the new practice fields currently under construction, and that new sod is going to be placed in discus area at the track and field facility.
Use of the Barnhouse Center continues to grow, Smith said, with more than 100 students now enrolled in daily programs there, both male and female and athletes and nonathletes.
Board member Tom Milbery said using the center “is the thing to do,” right now and that he expects the number of students using it to continue to grow.
“That’s really hard work our kids are putting in and I think we’ll see results athletically right away, like next school year,” Smith said.
“This is really something that has taken off more than I expected,” he added. “I’ve never seen anything like it, really.”
The superintendent said the school has received preliminary estimates to have a parking area between the school and Barnhouse Center either paved or tarred and sealed. He said the estimates include strengthening the base on the lot and that they were $16,000 to have it tarred and sealed or $19,000 to have it paved with asphalt.
The board noted that it recently received a “gold level” award for being rated an effective school board by the Southwest Region of the Ohio School Board Association and that board member Beverly Rhoads received an OSBA Award of Achievement.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.