Badin student’s project revamps teen center’s gaming room (By Eric Schwartzberg)

Badin student’s project revamps teen center’s gaming room (By Eric Schwartzberg)

A popular Butler County after-school youth program now boasts a state-of-the-art video gaming space thanks to the efforts of a Hamilton teen.

Drew Dixon, a Badin High School junior, headed a 265-hour effort that renovated a room inside EDGE Teen Center’s 4,000 square-foot facility.

Approximately 100 Lakota school district teens spend time each weekday at the center, which provides a safe, teen-oriented environment complete with ping pong and pool tables, a sound system, snack bar, monitored computer/Internet station and quiet areas to study.

But after years of use, the previous video gaming room had some “significant wear and tear” and became filled with heaps of tangled wires, banged-up video console storage units and out-of-date chairs, officials said.

Enter Dixon, who re-carpeted the room, painted a Pac-Man theme on its walls, added a ceiling fan, mounted TV monitors to the walls and lined the room with newly constructed benches to provide seating for students who choose to watch the gamers.

He also fundraised for and added a new PlayStation 3 gaming system, sturdy Adirondack chairs and gaming storage devices with secure locks.

Ryan Brown, manager of EDGE Teen Center’s after-school program, said students were “in complete shock” when they saw the surprise upgrade.

“I had one student who actually said it was too nice for them, that they thought they didn’t deserve it,” Brown said. “Even kids that that’s not the main place (for them) to hang out were running back there and looking at it and were so excited. They were running up to Drew and thanking him and hugging him.”

Byron Patterson, a 17-year-old junior, said the makeover not only added much-needed seating, but also “livened things up.”

“My friends and I enjoy everything in there,” Patterson said. “We appreciate all of what he did. We think it’s a fantastic place. He’s very creative.”

Dixon learned of the center last fall as he pursued Eagle Scout certification, a requirement of which is to oversee and lead a project of benefit to the community. One visit to the center, whose mission is to “empower students to impact the world,” and Dixon was hooked.

“I love video games and I knew immediately that was where I wanted to put my focus,” he said.

Dixon served as project manager and primary doer, managing every detail of creating the new space, including researching construction, wiring and supplies requirements. In one instance, he bought video storage boxes from IKEA and modified them to include fans to help prevent overheating before wiring them to the walls.

He also secured advice from some experts, including his father David, who owns Vision One IT Consulting. The company donated some supplies for the room and covered some of the expenses of the project.

Dixon, with the assistance of his scoutmaster and friends, completed the entire project during the winter school break so that EDGE students could enjoy the surprise when they returned.

Brad Hughes, a 16-year-old junior, said he was not expecting how different the center’s game room looked.

“I really think it’s improved a lot,” Hughes said. “It brings out the gaming atmosphere. There really wasn’t much going on in there before.”

Tristan Chriest, a 16-year-old sophomore, said the added seating and gaming created a better overall experience.

“It’s fantastic,” Chriest said. “We have a lot more fun in here because it’s a lot more coordinated and organized. He took a lot of time and he did a really good job.”

–Article originally posted at http://www.journal-news.com/news/badin-student-project-revamps-teen-center-gaming-room/AMckOiuzIoSsVR0YnSm8nO/

Byron Patterson and Justin Stanley play games at EDGE Teen Center. Badin High School Junior Drew Dixon created the room as a project to earn his Eagle Scout certification.

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