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Daily Journal
     February 7, 2020      #14-38 KDJ
 

BBCHS finds robotics home 

By Lee Provost
lprovost@daily-journal.com


The Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School robotics team has a new home — at least for now.

The former home for Flooring Covering Associates of Kankakee, 400 E. North St., Bradley, will be the new location for the school’s robotics program.

The robotics program has begun moving in equipment and robot hardware and is expected to working on its creation at the new location as early as Saturday.

Owners John Fitts and Robert Hills have this property up for sale as FCA moved from the North Street location in last 2018 and into its new location along Illinois Route 50, just south of the Blain’s Farm & Fleet complex.

FCA had called the North Street location home for more than 30 years.

BBCHS Superintendent Scott Wakeley said the space will help the robotics program get through this year’s build. He knows, however, once the property is sold, the students will have to pick up their robot equipment and seek another lab.

“While it’s not a permanent home, it provides the floor space and ceiling height needed to run through the tasks the robot must perform,” Wakeley said.

The school had also investigated some vacant space within the Northfield Square mall.

“It is nice and close to the school so this is good for the students and staff, but ultimately we need to find a permanent home,” Wakeley said.

Ryan Verner, BBCHS instructor and robotics club leader, said finding this new home has removed a great burden from the team leadership.

Although there are some minor obstacles within the building, such as lower-hanging lighting, they are more than pleased. He noted this new home offers heating and restrooms — something the Roper location did not have.

“This will get us through this year for sure. We feel very grateful, but we are still concentrating on finding a permanent place.”

Due to the various tasks the robot must perform, the students need a location with high ceilings as its arms are extended.

The BBCHS students have been participating in the FIRST Robotics Competitions for the past five years. Like sports or theater productions, robotics is an extra curricular activity.

Bourbonnais Village Trustee Angela Serafini recently added another key role to her list of duties within Kankakee County.

Serafini, who replaced Melissa Kahoun as the water company’s area manager, has been in this new role since December. Kahoun had been area manager since 2010.

A 1998 graduate of Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School and a 2001 graduate of Illinois State University where she earned a criminal justice degree, Serafini had served for nearly eight years as executive director of administration at Olivet Nazarene University’s School of Graduate & Continuing Studies.

She was most recently employed at Capital Education as vice president of enrollment services. She also taught as an adjunct professor in Olivet’s Bachelor of Business Administration program and Bachelor of Applied Science program. She has also taught at Kankakee Community College.

Serafini earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership in 2007 and a master’s of business administration in 2010.

Kahoun remains with Aqua, but serves in the environmental controls division.

“I’m really enjoying the work and being locally based,” Serafini noted. “It’s nice to serve this entire community and the residents. It’s nice to be a part of this.”

A lifelong Kankakee County resident, Serafini will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Kankakee-based water plant and its 46 employees. In her role, she focuses on maintenance issues, customer service, the water treatment plant — basically the plant’s entire network.

On a sad note, a former longtime Daily Journal pressman, Armond Ahrens, recently died following an extended illness.

One of the most well-known employees throughout his Journal career, Ahrens, 85, died on Jan. 23. A public memorial service is being held Saturday at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Kankakee.

Ahrens’ full-time career at the newspaper spanned from 1953 to 2003. He worked part time from 1948 to 1953. He is survived by his wife, Linda, and the couple’s two children.

During his career, Ahrens helped the newspaper win numerous national awards for the color photographs he processed.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at lprovost@daily-journal.com or 815-937-3364.

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Lee Provost