By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – A group of community partners are coordinating on a C2 (Collaborate & Create) Makerspace which will find a home on Marshfield’s UWSP campus.
The site will be a learning space for students and community members to “create and collaborate through innovation and exploration.”One-centralized location will allow those who have an interest access to resources and professionals, along with tools and equipment to cultivate innovation.
The space is the vision of Kylan Hastreiter and Sondra Hastreiter, of Hastreiter Industries and Shiloh Bound; Michelle Boernke, UWSP at Marshfield; Alex Lendved, MSTC Marshfield; Jenni Fredrick, Marshfield SchoolDistrict; and Karen Olson, MACCI, who have been working the project for three years.
In addition to expanding innovation, the team hopes it will also help grow future workforce.
“2014-2019 Central Wisconsin grew by under 400 people in population. That's a four county area, which means the average county is growing by under 25 people per year while there are about 100,000 people retirement age,” said Kylan Hastreiter.
“Marshfield High school graduates over 300 people a year alone. I graduated there in 2011 and I don't see most of my classmates around which, with the facts, showcases that we are not retaining our people. In light of labor shortages being one of the largest business community problems, the bright side is that this means opportunity because we do have a workforce here,it just isn't being utilized. The makerspace is going to provide students with hands on opportunities and hands on experience which bridges into local career opportunities.”
But, Hastreiter adds that the need for the makerspace is multifaceted.
“Students need access to high tech environment, students need creative and technical outlets (some students want to engineer and build robots, drones, electric guitars, etc.), businesses need a talented and passionate workforce, schools can use additional resources to lean on for expertise like the industry professionals that are from the fields of study in tech education classes, local governments want to see economic development and parents, community members want to see our community strengthened,” he added.
The group has raised over $300,000 in grants and local business donations, but work on the project is ongoing as they develop a means to bring in students from area schools to plant the seed for innovation.
“We are working with 9-10 area schools to bring students in for hands-on learning; meeting with local businesses for donations and assistance in teaching students; also working with entrepreneurs, clubs, etc…,”explained Karen Olson.
Those schools include: Marshfield public, Columbus, Auburndale,Colby, Loyal, Spencer, Stratford, Pittsville, Edgar, Greenwood, and Abbotsford.
Hastreiter said that reaching those students is not only vital to growing local workforce, but also for giving students more opportunities.
“You go to your phy-ed class and there are 10 sports to choose from. You go to your tech-ed class and how many clubs do you have to choose from? One, maybe two? Whether schools have the resources, technology,etc., or not, extracurricular opportunities are sadly lacking especially when considering. Manufacturing is the largest industry in central Wisconsin; it's no wonder we haven't been retaining our people because our students don't know about the local high tech manufacturing opportunities like machining spacerocket parts or creating dental implants,” he explained.
“When manufacturing is the largest industry, investment or involvement with the makerspace is also a retention and investment into the tax dollars that pay for the schools. We have 11 school districts in a 23 mile radius of Marshfield that can be impacted by C2. Hastreiter Industries for example has employees that live anywhere from Greenwood to Auburndale, Loyal toPort Edwards, and lots of places in between. Communities are tied by economics and we want to see central Wisconsin's schools, businesses, and communities asa whole stronger, and we do this by providing students opportunities that they didn't have access to before.
“The makerspace will provide students the opportunity to get their hands on high-tech equipment and industry expertise to learn, use and apply it, something that doesn't normally happen until in college.”
The team has hired Mark Bowie as manager for the makerspace.
Bowie has been employed in aerospace engineering and manufacturing for 26 years and taught high school level engineering for eight years. He has also served as a lead mentor for a robotics club for a decade.
He holds a degree in industrial engineering from UW-Madison
According to his bio, Bowie has been a Scout leader for 20years and is currently leading the Orange County STEAM (science, technology,engineering, arts, and mathematics education) Venturing crew with his wife Sara.
“In 2011, Mark used a grant from Boeing to start a FIRST Robotics Team in Orange. Mentoring the robotics team stimulated his interest inSTEAM education and led to his recent positions teaching engineering in high school. Mark completed Project Lead the Way training in 2016 and has taught five courses in their curriculum. Most recently, Mark developed and taught a four-year high school engineering and manufacturing program culminating in students using CAD/CAM and industrial CNC machines to construct their senior projects,” the bio stated.
Bowie is currently working part time remotely from California and will start in person in April
The team is planning for a soft launch of the C2 Makerspace at the end of the spring semester.
The space will be located in the Helen Connor Laird Fine Arts Building in the computer lab near the theater.
Equipment planned for the space includes: a CNC lathe; tabletop five axis CNC mills, PocketNC; CNC four Axis automatic drill sharpener; FLSMuse laser engraver/cutter; LulzBot TAZ6, 3D printer; LulzBot Mini, 3D printer;CAD/CAM computers; air compressor; buffing wheel w/enclosure; saw for material;3D scanner; and an open-source electronic prototyping platform.
UWSP will provide the space to the Hastreiter family nonprofit, Shiloh Bound, the operating nonprofit behind the C2.
For more information, visit www.c2makerspace.com.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.