Robotics team needs place to practice: Spare some space?

OHS students Alex Lundy and Brandon Hiscox, along with Mentor Andre LaRoche, help build the TORC 2137 robot. Photo provided.
OHS students Alex Lundy and Brandon Hiscox, along with Mentor Andre LaRoche, help build the TORC 2137 robot. Photo provided.

Oxford High School’s TORC 2137 robotics team is hunting for a proper practice space in which to hone its skills.

According to the team’s sponsorship mentor, Mary Hanser, Romeo High School has been sharing its practice field with the team over the last two years.

But with Romeo High being located over 30 minutes away, Hanser said this has not been ideal for getting the team ready for its competitions.

“A local space would give us an opportunity to save time, so that we’re not driving back and forth,” she said. “It would also be helpful in that we would have more access to it . . . This is really high-level stuff. Our students get to travel to different places and they have opportunities for scholarships, to meet more people in the industry. It’s a great opportunity for us to have something local, so that we can really be the best we can be. The kids spend a lot of time practicing and we’re spending a lot of time building things up and taking them down, driving someplace else . . . That’s all time that we could be practicing and it’s not beneficial to the students. In order to be a world-class team, we need that time to practice.”

TORC 2137 is a FIRST robotics team.

FIRST is a not-for-profit public charity, which aims to motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

FIRST robotics competitions challenge high school students to hone their teamwork skills by building and programming industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against competitors from across the nation under strict rules with limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit.

Ideally, the team would need access to a space at least 3,500 square feet in size, such as a heated warehouse facility, to be able to fully set up its practice field, which would be representative of the one they will compete on in late April, according to Hanser.

She also said that it would be ideal if the donated space had access to a restroom. But that’s not a deal-breaker, she noted, as the team could set up a portable toilet if necessary.

The team would need access to this space from February through April.

Although Hanser said the team’s short-term goal is to find a space to practice in during its upcoming season, she added that TORC 2137 is also looking for a permanent place to call home.

Any business or individual that donates a practice space to the team will be considered a special “Arcade sponsor” for TORC 2137 and would receive recognition through the team’s banners and t-shirts.

By becoming a TORC 2137 sponsor, Hanser added, local businesses can get a large amount of exposure as the team travels to various FIRST robotics competitions.

Last year, the team competed at the FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, and advanced to the semi-finals.

This year, the team will be competing at FIRST Robotics Championship at Detroit’s Cobo Center in late April.

“We’re willing to work with folks. If there’s some other recognition they’re looking for, we’re really flexible if there’s some other way we can accommodate some kind of acknowledgment,” Hanser added.

“We’re so excited about the community partners we have now and we’re really looking forward to gaining another who wants to help these kids build their futures.”

For more information or to become a TORC 2137 sponsor, contact Hanser at (586) 764-1429 or at

To learn more about the robotics team, please visit


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