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SWARM is seeking a new nest and new sponsors to keep it there.

The high school robotics club, which stands for South and West Albany Robotics Maniacs, meets weekly at the Central Electrical Training School in Tangent. In January, the club will start meeting daily through the competition season.

The team has clearance to keep meeting and working on the robot for this year's competitions up through February 2017.

But come March, said lead mentor John Norris, the training center has said it needs its space back. The 30-member team, made up of students from both South Albany and West Albany high schools, is looking for a new place to practice, build and store its robots.

SWARM competes in FIRST robotics competitions. The 14-year-old FIRST organization, which stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, asks teams to both compete and collaborate as they send robots onto a challenge field.

Competitions involve designing, building and programming a robot that can navigate its way through a series of challenges (the specifics for each year's competition aren't released until January). They might also have to give a presentation or meet additional goals.

It takes a minimum $10,000 per team for each competition season: $5,000 to enter and at least another $5,000 for parts, Norris said. More usually is needed for tools, travel costs and other essentials. That's where sponsors come in.

"At the moment we have the minimum amount of funds to register and build a robot for the 2017 season," Norris said. "However, additional funds would allow us to take our robot and students further. We would be able to afford additional parts that will give our students more to learn, as well as possible travel funds if we do well in the local events."

Meetings take place throughout the the school year, usually weekly in the evenings until the January competition season begins, Norris said. 

People who would like to volunteer, make a tax-deductible donation or help the team find a new meeting spot are asked to contact Norris via the team's website, http://team957.com, or email, firstswarm@gmail.com.

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