Groundbreaking ceremony held for new STEM facility in Beaufort County

Published: Sep. 27, 2016 at 8:47 PM EDT
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A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new facility being built in Beaufort County.

Officials say it's going to help students learn more about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, through a creative approach. It's going to use aviation and boating to teach kids about the STEM subjects.

The Police Activities League, or PAL, in Beaufort County, ceremonially broke ground for its BCPAL youth Aviation, Technology and Fitness Center Tuesday afternoon.

The 6,000 square foot facility sits on Washington-Warren Airport property and will include a special fitness center that focuses on nutrition, a flight simulator, and a lab where kids can build models of boats, airplanes and hot air balloons.

Organizers say combining the STEM subjects with aviation and boating was not an accident.

"We figured that when kids see airplanes flying, they look up," explains Alvin Powell, the president of BC PAL. "The Pamlico River dissects the county, so they see boating. So we thought that if we could get something that the kids were naturally interested in and then apply hands on experiments and apply science principals to it, it would make them interested and comprehend."

Of the $195,000 needed to build the facility, Powell says they've already raised $160,000 through various sponsors.

He says they are counting on public donations to raise the remaining $35,000 and says the proceeds from the 5th annual PAL dinner dance on October 15 will go toward the new facility.

Powell says construction will start Wednesday and he expects the building to be completed by the end of January.