BLUFFS – Bluffs high school students will be able to learn more about computers starting this year after the district received a grant to establish a computer science program.

Bluffs received $20,000 from the Tracy Family Foundation to help buy computers and programs for her computer class.

Social studies professor Zack Morrissey said the grant will cover most start-up costs.

While Bluffs has a program whereby every student has a school-issued Chromebook, Morrissey said those laptops lack the capabilities for some of the more advanced computer programs. Projects like coding and creating 3D creations can require a lot of computing power.

Morrissey said he and teacher Jordan Mueller had discussed buying desktop computers, but decided against it due to lack of space and because laptops could also be used for a e-sports team for West Central Co-op.

The team will allow students from Winchester and Bluffs to participate in competitive games including League of Legends, Fortnite and Apex Legends.

“It will help teach kids about teamwork,” Morrissey said. “Competitive play is very team-based. Every team they face is different, so they have a different challenge.”

Morrissey said students will also learn communication, problem solving and sportsmanship.

There will also be a communication or streaming aspect for students who may not want to play the games, but want to practice with video streaming.

Both programs are expected to start this year.

Morrissey said it will take some time to receive the new laptops, so the computer class will start with basic computer skills before moving on to more advanced courses.

The e-sports team will be formed as soon as the computers arrive.

“We worked with the National High School Sports League,” Morrissey said. “They have tournaments all year round, so as soon as we have a team and the equipment we can jump in and play competitively.”