The STEM Sphere: Sulphur High students design and build aluminum sculpture for Region 5 STEM Center

A new, symbolic sculpture has been installed at the Region 5 STEM Center, 1509 Enterprise Blvd.

The sphere is an aluminum piece of art that encapsulates what the STEM Center is all about. Calcasieu Parish School Superintendent Shannon LaFargue told the American Press that they aimed to build a sculpture that was “representative of the mission of the STEM Center, the building and its history.” The team brainstormed a couple of big ideas before landing on the spherical sculpture.

“We wanted something big! We struck out on locating a rocket and the waiting list for a decommissioned jet was 10 years.”

The next option to explore was a globe or sphere. This idea led CPSB officials to the Sulphur High School graphic design and welding class, where students at the Career and Technical Education facility at Sulphur High welded and designed the panels.

“We met with Mr. (Aaron) Toups, the instructor, and gave him our vision of the sphere and what we wanted it to represent. He challenged his students to design panels with a STEM focus and history of the school. We could not be more excited and proud of the final result.”

Many of the panels have cut-out designs that represent aspects of the STEM Center, including homages to STEM, music, the arts and the “classes that designed and built the sphere.” They also memorialize the different names the building has had: Lake Charles High School, Lake Charles Boston Academy and Region 5 STEM Center. At night, the sphere is lit up within, illuminating the graphic designs on the panels.

LaFargue also commended the CPSB maintenance department for their work on the slab and landscaping surrounding the sphere. Overall, he and his team are more than satisfied with the results.

“We are biased, but feel this is one of the most unique art pieces in Southwest Louisiana.”

School board funds were used to purchase the materials for a total cost of $5,500.

The Region 5 STEM Center is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics hub that serves six parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis and Vernon. The facility offers students in these parishes access to STEM programming, camps and events.

Since January 2023, the STEM Center has served 9,763 students and adults; 3,034 of these people have benefited from the Center in the last three months.

The district is still in the process of repairing damages to the facility that followed hurricanes Laura and Delta. He said that with the passage of LC REBOUND – a tax-neutral bond proposal for the City of Lake Charles- CPSB will be able to make headway on improvements to the front, auditorium, lobby and robotics arena.

In partnership with the City, the Region 5 STEM Center will see enhancements and improvements. Both the city and CPSB plan to contribute $1.25 million, for a total of $2.5 million.

 The auditorium will be used for both STEM activities and musicals and plays.

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