Charlottesville School Board member Ned Michie (center) examines objects students have 3D-printed

On Thursday, state and local education officials gathered at Charlottesville High School to open the school’s new science lab. Named the Sigma Lab by CHS students because of the Greek symbol’s significance of numerous parts coming together to create a whole, the $1.26 million, 8,580 square foot facility provides students spaces to collaborate on an idea, utilize a computer-aided design process and 3D print a final product.

The lab—which is housed in the school’s media center—is Charlottesville City Schools’ second STEM infrastructure project in recent months. Last year the division opened labs at Buford Middle School. The effort marks an expansion of the division’s push toward project-based learning, and the emphasis on teaching engineering concepts through science instruction.