Yes – the rumors are true! Roswell is finally getting its own makerspace. We’ve been working hard all year to bring this exciting new venue to East Roswell, and the support we’ve gotten so far is amazing! We’ve received a lot of questions since we started, though – who is Roswell FireLabs? What is a makerspace, and what do you do there?
How FireLabs Got Started
Last year, Roswell opened a new fire station, and the old station at 1601 Holcomb Bridge was up for rezoning. This proposal was met with opposition from several community members, however, which resulted in a public input meeting in June 2017. Our now-executive director, David, was amongst the attendees, and made an alternative proposal to turn the fire station into a community makerspace, which sparked several conversations, meetings, and eventually a official proposal to City Council in December 2017.
Between June and December, David worked to form a committee of local volunteers (now our leadership team) to help us build this organization, and in January 2018, the Council and Mayor approved our proposal. Since then, Mayor Lori Henry and the Roswell City Council (as well as MANY local community members) have been very generous in helping us secure the space, providing contractors to renovate the building and the grounds before we open later this year.
What is a makerspace? What do you do there?
A Makerspace is a collaborative, educational work space for making, learning, exploring and sharing. These spaces provide a variety of maker equipment for adults and kids alike to build their passion projects, as well as critical 21st century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). So far we have collaborated with several schools, businesses and community programs in the Roswell area, and we are excited to continue this trend after we open.
A makerspace is simply for anyone who likes creating things. Our space aims to provide a collaborative environment focused on networking through the creative arts, enriching the lives of Roswell (and neighboring) residents with community classes and a membership-driven studio with equipment (3D printers, woodshop, sewing machines, etc) that might be inaccessible elsewhere.
When do you open?
We get this question a lot! Honestly, we’ve been giving the contractors the time they need to get the space just right before we move in. Several changes have been made to the space, including ripping out the old kitchen, completely renovating the old bathroom, replacing the floors, cleaning up the roof, knocking out a few walls, and lots more. (You can see our latest team walkthrough video from June 2018 via Facebook here, or watch it below.) All work has been graciously provided by City Council, so as soon as they have completed the work, we will be able to move in. While we can’t guarantee an opening date at this point, we can say it will be before the end of 2018.
We have also heard renovations may be done very, very soon. Once they are complete, our leadership team will do another walk through to assess how much work needs to be completed, and will attempt to schedule some community work days to get our space clean and shiny before the end of the year (paint walls, clean floors, move furniture and equipment, etc). Keep an eye out for more updates on this in September/October.
What equipment will you have when you open?
We are still purchasing and collecting equipment donations, but so far we can confirm a few things:
- Woodshop equipment
- Sewing machines
- 3D printers (we have a LOT of these!)
- Large workspace tables with rolling stool seats
- Stained glass tools
- A kiln
- Various small hand tools
We intend to include several other materials for other activities, such as screenprinting, metalworking, etc., and we are rapidly adding more. If you have equipment, money or tools to donate, please contact us. More information can be found on our Donations page.
What can I do to get involved?
Join our community meetings! Our next event will be at Lucky’s Burgers and Brew on Saturday, August 18th from 10am-12pm on the pavilion. You can learn more about this event here, and follow us on social media to learn about our future community meetups.