Move 2018

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On 12-March, we learned that the TCHS was turning the warehouse into new classroom space and that we would need to leave by the end of June.

DAR moved into the CCIU's TCHS in August 2013. We've had the great pleasure of working out of the TCHS for nearly five years; years that have been very good for our robotics program. The team has been at the TCHS longer than anywhere else in its history.

We ended up in a storefront of the Exton Square Mall. The move was transformative in that it enabled Downingtown Area Robotics to significantly increase the scope of its program.

The team started in 2005 as a school-based FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team (1640).

A FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team (7314) for Middle School students was started in 2013. This was all we could manage at the CCIU.

With the move to the Exton Square Mall, we were able to:

  • Add two additional FTC teams (about 12 students each team)
  • Add a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) program for 4th-8th grade students comprising seven teams (about 6 students each team)
  • Start an FIRST LEGO League Jr (FLL Jr) program for K-3rd grade students comprising three teams (about 6 students each team) run twice a year (functionally 6 teams)

This expansion increases DARs impact from about 45 students to more than 150 students.

Email of 12-March-2018

I learned today that the CCIU will be converting the warehouse we work in into classrooms in the near future. I understand (from the TCHS's principle) that we will have our current workshop through the end of June and will then need to leave. Even before this, we will have some limitations on what we may do outside of the workshop. The CCIU does value our program's presence in the school, and will do their best to accommodate us. It's not yet certain what this will be.
At this this time, we have not yet evaluated options regarding what we may do to keep the robotics program active. We certainly will be doing this over the next few weeks.
I am sorry to bring such unfortunate news, but it is important that everyone accurately understand the situation that the team faces. I will share additional information as it becomes available.
Despite this bad news, we are in the midst of the 2018 competition season and I will expect every student to continue to focus on the team's success our coming competitions. We made a very good start at Westtown. We cannot afford to lose focus or momentum.
A final point that I will make is that the team has faced such challenges in the past and has overcome them. I cannot say with any assurance that we will do so again, but we do have relevant experience.
Clem McKown
DAR Chairman & FRC1640 Head Mentor


Our search started with an emergency Steering Team meeting on 13-March. A range of options were identified and action plan made to evaluate these. This work went on in the background during the team's competition season.

In the final analysis, the best viable option was a move into the Exton Square Mall. 4,000 ft2 of space was available and terms negotiated with the Mall management.

A key advantage of the Exton Mall is that it allows DAR to expand the program's scope to include FIRST LEGO League.

Move Announcement - 8-June-2018

Downingtown Area Robotics (home of Team Sab-BOT-age) moves, reorganizes, grows
For the past five years, the Chester County Intermediate Unit’s (CCIU’s) Technical College High School (TCHS) has very generously supported Downingtown Area Robotics’ (DAR’s) educational program by providing us with a home in which the team and the program has been able to thrive and grow. But nothing lasts forever and important new construction at the TCHS means that DAR will be moving to a new base. Effective July 1st, DAR will operate out of 190 Exton Square Mall.
DAR is using this move as an opportunity to expand its program to serve younger students. When formed in 2011, DAR was an organization supporting FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) team 1640 serving area high school students. Our move to the TCHS in 2013 allowed the foundation of DAR’s FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) team 7314, thereby broadening our service to include 7th and 8th grade students. Now, with the move to Exton Mall, six FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Teams will join the DAR organization. As a result, DAR will offer FIRST robotics programs for area students from 4th through 12th grades. DAR is also starting a 2nd FTC team.
Larry Dodds has graciously stepped up to the role of Head Mentor for FRC team 1640 (Sab-BOT-age). This is a role that Larry has effectively been filling through the 2018 season. FRC 1640 is DAR’s flagship.
Scott Featherman will continue to lead the FLL program.
George Abersold will serve as Head Mentor for FTC Team 7314; Scott Mengle will lead the new FTC team.
While DAR is leaving the TCHS, our partnership with the CCIU and TCHS remains important and strong. We continue to cooperate in hosting educational robotics events including the D-Town Dust-off FLL scrimmage, the Downingtown FLL Qualifying Tournament and a TechGirlz workshop.
DAR is not school-affiliated and its robotics programs are open to all area students. DAR is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization.
FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to become leaders and innovators, and enhance their work-life skills.
Clem McKown
President, Downingtown Area Robotics

Taking Possession - 15-June-2018

All of the agreements are signed. All documents in order.

Downingtown Area Robotics takes possession of 190 Exton Square Mall.

Signage Art - High Resolution for Production

Storefront Banner FLL Jr
Storefront Banner FLL
Storefront Banner FTC
Storefront Banner FRC
Spygear Collage

Move photo gallery

Video Gallery