Members of Temple College's SkillsUSA STEM Club Members of Temple College's SkillsUSA STEM Club

Temple College will celebrate the grand opening of its SkillsUSA Prototype Lab at 10:30 a.m. Monday, May 23, in the College’s Watson Technical Center, Room 545.

The SkillsUSA Prototype Lab is funded by a $15,000 grant from Lowes Home Improvement, which was awarded to the College’s SkillsUSA STEM Club chapter earlier this year. Students in the club worked with Dr. Sandra Melendez, club co-advisor and chair of Temple College’s Department of Engineering Technology, to write the grant. Richard Askey, program manager for electromechanical engineering also serves as a co-advisor.

“We are very thankful to Lowes for supporting these students and their efforts,” Melendez said. “This new lab will be integral to Temple College and the communities we serve as we grow our engineering technology programs.”

The new lab has six stations to design, engineer and build prototypes. Thanks to the Lowes grant, the space is now equipped with integral new hand tools, band saw, scroll saw, table saw and drill presses.

“In our new engineering technology degree plans, we will integrate and utilize the lab in the students’ creation of new products,” Melendez said. “We plan on offering ‘Invent-It’ classes for the community in the future.”

In April, the Temple College SkillsUSA STEM Club was named a Gold Chapter of Distinction – the highest honor a chapter can receive – at the SkillsUSA Texas College/Post-Secondary competition in Houston.

Chapter members also won first-place honors in four areas, including Engineering Technology Design, Additive Manufacturing, Photography and Chapter Business Procedure.

Several teams are heading to the national competition this summer in Atlanta.