Students in a Shaker High School construction class have put their woodworking skills to valuable use by creating acoustic panels for the new Colonie-based Bring on The Spectrum (BOTS), a 6,000-square-foot community space and sensory gym.
Founder Lisa Audi, a former student of Superintendent D. Joseph Corr and a current member of North Colonie’s Parents’ Advisory Council, reached out to the district when she realized that the high ceilings in the gym, combined with the sound sensitivity of neurodiverse guests, required acoustic panels.
“BOTS will offer social, recreational and lifestyle activities to the neurodiverse of all ages and all abilities. Prior to COVID, there was a need to have a space where ‘you be you’ and ‘come as you are’, was welcome. COVID heightened the need, something I saw with my own daughter who attends Southgate Elementary,’ Audi revealed.
“BOTS was the result of talking with other nonprofits, with service agencies, with parents & individuals, really the whole community. When we
realized we needed some acoustic panels, I immediately wondered if this was something the woodworking students could build. I loved the idea of students helping students and being a part of the diverse educational paths offered by the North Colonie district. The project with North Colonie and Shaker students was a continuation of our community collaboration and Mr. Eric Phillips and the students were awesome to work with.”
The construction class, consisting of a mix of students from various grade levels, created wooden frames, cut and inserted insulation and covered them with colorful fabric.
Bring on the Spectrum will open March 2022. Audi said student volunteers ages 16 and up are welcome to be part of the activities helping to provide peer to peer interaction. Interested students or community members can email Volunteer4Bots@gmail.com for more information or to sign-up.
“We are excited to bring this to the community,” Audi stated. “And nothing makes me prouder than to have some #BisonStrong representation on our walls.”