Donor Support Launches ‘Makerspace’ Construction at Penn College

Published 01.31.2018

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A makerspace under development at Pennsylvania College of Technology will provide the environment – and essential tools – for students, faculty and staff to collaborate on innovative projects in a dynamic learning setting.

The college expects to open its makerspace in the Carl Building Technologies Center on the main campus in Fall 2018.

“Makerspaces are an innovative means of supplying students with the resources, training and facilities to invent, experiment and produce unique products for either practical or aesthetic value,” said Tom F. Gregory, associate vice president for instruction. “The space provides the means of implementing creative processes for both academic projects and personal inspiration.”

The makerspace at Penn College will represent a combination of design, engineering, fabrication and education, enabling users to complete multidisciplinary projects with support and inspiration from others within the college community.

The design for the Penn College makerspace was created by students and refined and finalized by a committee of faculty and staff.

The students who participated are: Christopher D. Fox, of York, who earned an Associate of Applied Science in architectural technology in May 2017; John A. Gondy, of Glenmoore, a junior in residential construction technology and management: architectural technology concentration; and Thomas P. Abernatha, of Williamsport, who earned an Associate of Applied Science in architectural technology in May 2017.

Goals for Penn College’s makerspace include:

  • Encourage learning beyond curriculum

  • Inspire interdisciplinary cooperation

  • Furnish equipment, tools and raw materials to support innovation

  • Support coursework

  • Provide a constructive social option for students

“The makerspace is possible at Penn College because of the overwhelming support from donors,” said Loni N. Kline, vice president for institutional advancement. “We look forward to recognizing supporters of the project during a celebration event in the fall, and are pleased by the opportunity to dedicate the space to honor the memory of an individual who was incredibly well-respected in the community.”

The makerspace will be named the “Dr. Welch Workshop” to memorialize the late Dr. Marshall Welch Jr. The principal donor, Marshall Welch III, has made a $75,000 gift to the project; he is chair of the Penn College Foundation Board and a member of the college’s 1914 Society. Welch and his family are longtime supporters of Penn College.

“My father and his friends had a ‘makerspace’ at our home long before the concept was tagged and became so popular,” Welch said. “They built experimental aircraft, rebuilt jeeps, designed furniture and fixed whatever was broken. But most importantly, it was a place where everyone was welcome. Some brought projects, while others helped out, and many just stopped by to say ‘hello’ and see what the gang was working on. He would be truly overjoyed by the idea of a makerspace at Penn College.”

Makerspaces typically are divided into designated “clean” and “dirty” spaces. Clean spaces include equipment such as computers, 3-D printers, sewing machines and vinyl cutters; dirty space equipment can include saws, drill presses, routers, lathes, CNC mills and more.

George E. “Herman” Logue Jr. made a $25,000 commitment supporting the dirty space (the “Logue Fabritorium”). Fred Gilmour, faculty emeritus, has made the same commitment for the clean space (the “Gilmour Tinkertorium”).

Other leadership donors to the makerspace include: The Alberts Family, Al and Jane Clapps, Bill and Veronica Muzic, PPL Electric Utilities, Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Project, and Young Industries Inc.

The original fundraising goal for the initiative, $150,000, has been surpassed, with nearly $180,000 in commitments secured to date, and additional support is welcomed.

A variety of giving levels offer unique opportunities for anyone wishing to become philanthropic leaders for the project including an endowment to support project materials for students, $25,000; a “Think Space” classroom, $15,000; a “Tool Up” equipment fund, $10,000; and individual gifts noted with the donor’s name on a plaque, $5,000.

Those interested in supporting the makerspace project may contact Kline.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.