Nearly $75,000 will change the way students look at the Town of Gravenhurst.

An Ontario Trillium Foundation grant has been awarded to help the Minecraft Club use the video game to build a replica of 1920s Gravenhurst. The end goal will be to take the created model and 3D print it for visitors to the town to enjoy.

The grant will allow the school to buy a server and other peripheral equipment to help achieve that goal.

Minecraft is an online collaborative game where the players create the game themselves by manipulating the world within it. With no specific steps or goals, everyone playing the game is having a different experience.

Gravenhurst Principal Trent Willett. (Doug Crosse Photo)

Principal Trent Willett, who is in his first few months at the school, praises the initiative created by the students and what it will mean for learning technology in a fun way.

“We’re thrilled to be recipients of this grant and it’s a great learning opportunity for our students,” said Willett. “We have a number of students who are going to be involved in the Minecraft world building a model city of Gravenhurst.”

Willett points out that while it is an after-school club that will be conducting all the work, the learning that will be taking place is significant.

“There is a lot of historical research creating scale in Minecraft and eventually they will print the model city they have created,” said Willett.

The overall goal has been identified to enrich the lives of participants and the members of the public through art, culture, and technology to help preserve and animate the cultural heritage.

“I hadn’t necessarily thought of (Minecraft) as a teaching tool in the way it is being used for this project,” admits Willett. “Kids are engaged in it, my own son included. They are exploring and creating new things and there is an opportunity to tap into the creative thinking of students.”

There will be an official presentation of the grant on Friday with a representative from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller in attendance.