Governor Haslam, local leaders visit Hixson Middle to mark opening of VW e-Lab

Governor Bill Haslam, Mayor Jim Coppinger, and Mayor Andy Berke joined with students, parents and community leaders to cut the ribbon to open the new VW eLab at Hixson Middle School. (Image: Hamilton Co. Schools)

Tennessee's governor made a stop in Chattanooga on Wednesday to mark the opening of Hixson Middle's e-Lab.

The middle school is one of eight chosen earlier this year to receive digital fabrication equipment.

Volkswagen America says the e-Lab programs are part of a one-million-dollar donation by VW Chattanooga and the state. It helps students get hands-on learning in a different environment.

"This is a great example of businesses and schools coming together," Governor Haslam said. "It's hard for us to say this is what the future will look. what they're doing at Hamilton County schools is teach kids to be innovators."

Hixson Middle was one of eight new VW eLabs opened this school year in Hamilton County Schools. The other VW eLabs are located at Brainerd High, Brown Middle, Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Hixson High, Ooltewah Middle, Orchard Knob Middle and Soddy Daisy Middle. The Hixson eLab and the other seven locations are part of a Volkswagen eLabs initiative to provide students with access to digital fabrication tools including automated manufacturing equipment, programmable microcomputers, renewable energy kits, 3D printers, robotics, and laser cutters that will empower the young learners to engage in authentic problem-solving.

Each school is responsible for raising $5,000 each year in cash or contributed materials to refresh the lab and replace materials.

Hamilton County Schools says the addition of the eight new eLabs was the second round of VW eLabs awarded to schools in Hamilton County as a result of a $1 million donation by Volkswagen Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee to pay for the program.

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