Education

After fire, the SLO High robotics team is ready to compete

SLO-Botics team member Noll Richardson works on a robot at French Hospital Medical Center in its Copeland Health Education Pavilion. The team has rebuilt its robots in the aftermath of a Dec. 8 arson fire that destroyed a San Luis Obispo High School computer lab.
SLO-Botics team member Noll Richardson works on a robot at French Hospital Medical Center in its Copeland Health Education Pavilion. The team has rebuilt its robots in the aftermath of a Dec. 8 arson fire that destroyed a San Luis Obispo High School computer lab. nwilson@thetribunenews.com

The San Luis Obispo High School Robotics team is ready for the Vex Robotics Competition that it’s hosting this weekend at Cal Poly after completing a rebuild of its robots.

The robots were destroyed in a Dec. 8 arson fire that devastated a campus computer room, causing an estimated $1.8 million in damage.

Three former students — Cameron Bratcher, Michael Benadiba and Jacob Ruth — have been charged in connection with the fire.

Local nonprofit organization Softec raised $32,000 to help the team, surpassing a goal of $7,500. So far, $8,500 has been awarded.

The Softec board has formulated an oversight committee, including team advisor Jan Fetcho, to distribute the remainder of the funds.

“We are so impressed with Mrs. Fetcho, Room 307 teacher, and all of her students for the time they committed over the winter break to completely rebuild the robots and get them ready for this weekend’s tournament,” said Stewart Morse, Softec’s board president.

A fire destroyed the computer lab at San Luis Obispo High School early Thursday morning (Dec. 9, 2016). Arson is the suspected cause, and three former students had been arrested. Here's a look at the damage.

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