MANCHESTER, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--FIRST ® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) announced today that it has selected St. Louis, Mo. to host its annual international robotics Championship from 2015 continuing through 2017, making this a seven-year commitment to the city of St. Louis and the local FIRST Organizing Committee. St. Louis, with a 66,000 seat stadium, was selected from among five finalist cities to host the Championship event for the expanding FIRST Progression of Programs. FIRST was founded in 1989 by noted inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people to become science and technology leaders, and FIRST Programs are projected to reach over 350,000 young people in more than 80 countries in the 2014 season.
"FIRST is confident that the city of St. Louis and its local partners will continue to enable us to provide high-quality experiences for our community," said Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST. "We are pleased and excited to bring the culminating event of our Sport for the Mind™ to a city that has been such a solid supporter of the mission of FIRST for so many years."
The city of St. Louis has held a FIRST® Robotics Competition Regional event for over 12 years and has hundreds of Volunteers involved in all four FIRST programs, including: Junior FIRST® LEGO® League; FIRST® LEGO® League; FIRST® Tech Challenge; and the FIRST Robotics Competition. The local FIRST community assists all of the state’s robotics teams with Mentors, Volunteers, venues, and financial support.
"We continue to be very impressed by St. Louis’ facilities, infrastructure, widespread community support, financial plan, and their experience in hosting large-scale sports and youth cultural events," said Ron Falcone, FIRST Championship Site Committee Chairperson. "The excellent quality of the finalist city bids from Atlanta, Georgia; Detroit, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; Indianapolis, Indiana; and St. Louis, Missouri attest to the enormous amount of time, effort, and research from the five finalist cities, and FIRST thanks each city for its cooperation."
The FIRST Championship event for 2015-2017 will be housed at the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, with a total of 502,000 contiguous square feet of exhibit space in six halls, 83 meeting rooms, the 1,411 fixed-seat Ferrara Theatre, the St. Louis Executive Conference Center, and the 66,000-seat Edward Jones Dome.
“FIRST will bring more than 25,000 technology-savvy kids, their Mentors, and parents to St. Louis for four action-packed days,” said Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, President of the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC). “In addition to the competition, they will visit attractions and patronize our many tourism businesses. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to once again demonstrate our hospitality to FIRST attendees.”
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he welcomes the return of FIRST, which brings many of the country’s best and brightest minds to the city. “The FIRST Robotics Championship is one of the most important events that St. Louis can host,” said Slay. “It brings another wave of smart young people to our community, and allows them to discover and explore St. Louis…perhaps even leading them to one of our many outstanding colleges and universities or a job with a St. Louis-based company.”
When FIRST competitors return to St. Louis, they will see even more new developments in the area, including an invigorated Arch grounds, Ballpark Village, and a redeveloped Union Station. Those new developments, of course, are augmented by many youth-friendly venues such as City Museum, City Garden, Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Science Center, the Saint Louis Art Museum, and the Missouri History Museum. “Our mix of attractions and venues is really quite impressive and attractive, particularly to young people,” said Ratcliffe. “We can’t wait to show another generation of FIRST what St. Louis has to offer.”
The dates for the FIRST Championships in St. Louis, Mo. are: April 22-25 (2015); April 27-30 (2016); and April 26-29 (2017).
As part of the previous FIRST Championship city selection process conducted in 2009, the 2014 Championship will also take place in St. Louis from April 23 to April 26.
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $16 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.
About the St. Louis CVC
The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission is the sales and marketing organization responsible for marketing St. Louis City and St. Louis County as a convention and meeting site and as a leisure travel destination. In addition, the CVC manages and operates the America’s Center Convention Complex® and Edward Jones Dome.