By Tom Tolen /

About 100 people gathered on a blisteringly hot and humid day at Brighton High School Tuesday to participate in groundbreaking ceremonies for the new STEAM Center.

STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics, is an adaptation of the STEM curriculum, with the inclusion of the Arts. It's designed to provide the framework for students to learn how to think critically, solve problems and be more creative.

Opening remarks were given by Brighton Board of Education President Roger Myers, Superintendent Matthew Outlaw and State Senator Lana Theis (R, 22nd District), and retired, former Livingston County Board of Commissioners Chairman David Domas. Giving a detailed synopsis of the history of the auto lab technology and robotics programs at the school was board Trustee John Conely, who has been heavily involved in those programs for many years and one of the leading advocates for a STEAM center.

Superintendent Outlaw told WHMI the STEAM Center will enable the Brighton Area Schools to give students enrolled in the program an advantage over the competition in critical areas of the information and technology-based economy. Careers in STEAM and STEM are expected to grow 8% by 2029, compared with just 3.7% for all occupations.

STEAM projects at the high school and other district schools - Maltby Intermediate, Scranton Middle School, and the four elementary schools — are expected to consume over $10 million of the $59.3 million bond issue passed by the voters in November of 2019. The high school's STEAM Center will be located at the rear of the building, next to the tennis courts.

Outlaw says construction of the building — which will be connected directly to the high school — is already underway, having begun about two weeks ago, with completion set for December. The initial STEAM classes, in engineering, are scheduled to coincide with the start of the second semester.

Top photo - Six members of the Brighton Board of Education, symbolically putting the first shovels in the ground. From left, Board Secretary Ken Stahl; next, Treasurer Angela Krebs; Trustee John Conely; President Roger Myers; Trustee Laura Mitchell and right, Trustee Bill Trombley. Board Vice President Alicia Reid was unable to attend the ceremony.

Middle photo - From left: Board Trustee John Conely; center, Superintendent Matthew Outlaw; right, Board President Roger Myers.

Bottom photo - STEAM Center rendering