Queen City Robotics Alliance prepares at their new facility for 2024

Queen City Robotics Alliance (QCRA) recently finished updates and construction of several important projects at The Zone, a 3,000 sq. ft. practice field. On January 6, students and mentors were at The Zone where they learned about the upcoming FIRST® Robotics competition season and received their Kickoff Kits. The 2024 theme is Crescendo presented by Haas.


As QCRA and Charlotte-area FIRST Robotics teams get ready for competition, they will be a part of some 3,500 robotics teams around the world participating in Crescendo, which has a theme revolving around music, sound, and performance as part of the robotic competition.

New Avian Robotics 9005 team member Alex C. of East Mecklenburg High School had this to say about his first competition season. “I expected my team to be very serious and purely focused on one goal. However, this was not the case. I was greeted with many smiles and helpful advice on how to improve myself, not just as a future engineer, but as a human being in general. It is very fun being around them and I look forward to building our new robot with them.”

Avian Robotics lead mentor Annette Miller was also enthusiastic. “I am so excited about the game itself. It requires lots of thinking and planning and more involvement from the team and our alliance. I feel it gives new teams like ours more opportunities to be successful. I am looking forward to lots of ‘light bulb moments’.”

Last September, QCRA moved into a new, larger facility called The Zone in Charlotte’s Ayrsley neighborhood and it is a space where Charlotte area robotics teams can strategize and practice while building teamwork and organizational skills. QCRA also uses The Zone to hold after school and summer computer coding and drone camps open to all Charlotte area students.

However, the former marketing research space needed some upgrades to make the space work for QCRA students. First the HVAC and electrical needed an upgrade so everyone could be comfortable through the changing seasons. Next was the creation of the robot practice field. That project involved knocking down several walls to create a 3,000-sq. ft., 16-ft. high practice field where teams can prepare their robots for competition.

Locke Hudson of commercial real estate company JLL not only helped QCRA find the new facility, but oversaw the renovations and provided this update on the new space. “It’s exciting to be wrapping up the project to create a dedicated playing field area at The Zone. The completed playing field will be a unique asset for QCRA teams as there is not another dedicated field with a 100-mile radius and allows teams to have hands-on experience testing and practicing with their designs.”

“This project was a team effort,” he added, “and would not have been possible without the financial backing and the partnership of our landlord’s property manager Frank Bass, GC Stocker Associates, and the significant in-kind donation of Ray Kimble who performed all of the electrical work.”