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June 24, 2015 | Tom Ballard

Chattanooga’s TechTown opens in days with summer camps for 600

TechTownBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

The grand opening of Chattanooga’s new TechTown is just days away with a full slate of summer camps beginning on June 29.

Cordell Carter II, Chief Executive Officer of TechTown Foundation in Chattanooga, said his team will run three unique camps each week for five weeks straight, reaching around 600 students.

“This is our second year offering a summer camp experience – but for the first time, we will welcome participants to our brand new TechTown facility,” he said. “We can’t wait to see what they create in this new space.”

We recently had the opportunity to take a hardhat tour of the TechTown facility.

The 23,000 sq. ft. space is designed to address a variety of interests and opportunities, all with the goal of inspiring minds of any age as to what is possible.

  • There are technology-packed areas like the “Fab Lab,” a 3D printing, laser cutting and soldering place where ideas can be taken from concept to real life.
  • There’s something called “Kilobytes,” designed for the earliest ages and providing a guided learning experience in coding and design, digital art, storyboarding, basic videography and robotics.
  • There’s a 6,000 sq. ft. “Coding and Design” center where youth can learn fundamentals of the various computer operating systems; develop codes for games, web applications and software; and construct 3D models.
  • The “TechTown Gaming Center” will let students test games they’ve created.
  • The “Videography” wing has the latest high-definition cameras and editing systems to inspire students interested in that field.
  • TechTown also has a “Relaxation Station,” promoting relationship building and the “TechTalk Theater” where guest lectures, workshops, and presentations will be held.

Once the summer camp season closes, the after school programming will begin at TechTown Chattanooga. These programs will focus on learners aged seven to 17, giving them access to TechTown’s MyQuest Learning System and an amazing collection of technology assets on one floor. The TechTown after school and weekend business plan calls for daily, monthly and annual memberships.

Carter emphasizes that a key TechTown principle is to find ways to ensure that underserved populations are included in the process. As such, the TechTown Foundation is focused on raising $2 million to fund student scholarships. They have already secured scholarships from individual donors, as well as Chattanooga’s Benwood and Maclellan Foundations among others.

TechTown is currently exploring opportunities to use the facility during off-peak hours (daytime during the school year) in partnership with workforce development programming. “We have an amazing asset in this space and technology and we want to ensure the community enjoys full use of the space,” Carter said.

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