AUSTIN (KXAN) — It all started with an after school robotics club at Anderson High School.

“Much of our equipment was stored in a parent’s garage and front living room,” said principal Donna Houser.

The program eventually outgrew the campus, and students moved to a couple of different locations over the years.

About three years ago, a donor who still wishes to remain anonymous put up $3.1 million to build a technology hub on the back of the Anderson campus.

It will offer the following hands-on courses:

  • computer science
  • manufacturing
  • electrical engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • software engineering

“We don’t know of any other school in Texas that has anything similar,” said Houser. “No other school in Texas teaches manufacturing.”

Students moved into the new Applied Technology Center a couple of weeks ago.

“We’re figuring out how to design a case for this Samsung tablet,” said senior Margot Rae, 18, who is enjoying the facility while she can. “Next year I am studying engineering at [Texas] A&M so this is right down my path.”

Across the hall, students are working on a different type of engineering.

“We prototyped a circuit,” said engineering teacher David Yanoshak. “Today we started assembling them onto these printed circuit boards so they were actually using soldering irons to attach all the components.”

The Applied Technology Center is not just for Anderson High School students. Austin ISD students in all central and north Austin high schools will be using it which include LBJ, Reagan, Lanier, McCallum, Austin High and Eastside Memorial. Schools in South Austin currently access programs and equipment at Akins High School.

Part of the donor’s mission is to allow the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to access it during the summer.

The official grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled for next Tuesday at 10 a.m.