The Lacey MakerSpace provides an amazing space for local entrepreneurs, creators, and inventors to bring their ideas to life. They have been eager to expand and invest in new equipment, which is now possible thanks to local and congressional funding. With $1 million from the Congressionally Directed Omnibus Appropriations Bill, $300,000 invested from the City of Lacey, and $100,000 from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation the Lacey MakerSpace will be able to expand their space from 3,500 square feet to almost 10,000 square feet in Zaverl Hall on the Saint Martin’s University campus. They also received $1.2 million from the EDA CARES Act Grant in 2021 to invest in new equipment and workforce training programming, which will create even more opportunities for makers of Washington to change the world.
Spearheading a Skilled Workforce Through the Lacey MakerSpace
Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell both saw the amazing potential and impact of the Lacey MakerSpace, and advocated heavily for the Omnibus Bill to pass so that they could allocate funding to this life-changing space. With the congressional funding from the Omnibus Bill, the Lacey MakerSpace will expand their space on Saint Martin’s University campus to just under 10,000 square feet. This creates immense opportunity for more equipment, expanded hours, and increased workforce programming to continue to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Washington State. By advancing and supporting local manufacturing and training opportunities, our communities and local economies can thrive.
Trades and technical skills are a critical part of our society’s progress and infrastructure, and the Lacey MakerSpace is at the forefront of developing aspiring entrepreneurs into successful local manufacturers. For Lacey MakerSpace Director Michelle Pope, it is essential that our community creates space and opportunity for creation and manufacturing to take place right here. “We want to create locally and source locally,” she says. “We are a regional resource and are working to provide an entrepreneurial incubator system to respond to the increasing demand for trade jobs and high-tech jobs.”
After the heavy blow to many industries, innovations, and ideas in the pandemic, this funding will be critical to supporting local creators by giving them the means to rejoin the workforce and pursue their passions.
Opportunities for Makers and Creators at the Lacey MakerSpace
The infrastructure improvements to the Lacey MakerSpace will be managed by FORMA Construction, which includes an expansion of the space itself and upgrades for power, water and air to support all of the amazing equipment coming from the 2021 funding. “It was incredible to have that funding from the CARES Act Grant, but we didn’t know where we were going to be able to put it all,” says Michelle. “With this expansion, we will now have the ability to house all of this new state-of-the-art equipment we are getting.”
This equipment includes SLS and SLA printers; high-strength precision manufacturing equipment; 3D printers for prototyping; welding; woodworking; textiles; and more.
Additionally, the Lacey MakerSpace will have expanded programming and technical training to provide essential industry skills to creators across the region. With this new equipment and programming, local innovators will have the tools and education necessary to fully develop their dreams and work toward a better tomorrow.
In anticipation of the construction work to be done, the Lacey MakerSpace has maintained its hours of Thursday afternoons, and Friday through Sunday. “We are doing everything we can to minimize any major disruptions to our operating hours, though we expect there may be some periodic closures,” shares Michelle. “We want to be very strategic about this to make sure we can stay open for our members throughout the expansion.”
Once the construction work has been completed, by late summer 2023, the Lacey MakerSpace is looking to expand their hours too, providing additional time for established members and newcomers to begin creating new works.
All of this funding has been revolutionary for the Lacey MakerSpace and will give them the means to continue to implement their mission of creating equal opportunity for all community members to become creators. “We want anyone from any background, skill level and economic level to be able to take a class here for free or very low cost,” says Michelle. “We need some community support to continue to make that happen.”
While the Lacey MakerSpace receives ongoing support from its three founding partners, The Thurston EDC, City of Lacey and Saint Martin’s University more is needed to cover the high costs to operate and maintain all of the equipment and develop new programming. Michelle is currently organizing further initiatives and funding sources to ensure that the Lacey MakerSpace continues to be an affordable avenue for makers to bring their creations to life.
Memberships with the Lacey MakerSpace are currently just $50 per month, an incredibly affordable price to pay for the amazing resources within. If you are a local organization in the community looking to make an impact, contact the Lacey MakerSpace to invest in integrative entrepreneurship right here in our local community. Join Lacey MakerSpace today and begin building your future one step at a time!
Saint Martin’s University Campus
Zaverl Hall, Building 5, Baran Dr. SE, Lacey