After three years of diligent visioning, planning, and fundraising, grounded in a decade of sustainable community building, GALA’s Makers Mill has officially broken ground on Phase 1 of building renovations. Phase 1 is forecast to take six months as long as the supply chains cooperate, and will result in an efficient, code-compliant building ready for initial programming and membership options.
Specifically, the building will house a woodshop, metalshop, Fablab, spaces for fiber arts, fine arts, jewelry making, media/IT, as well as offices and meeting spaces. The new makerspace will be a place where students, hobbyists, and professionals can learn, teach, practice, and collaborate around a wide variety of skills and crafts that support personal, professional, and community goals.
“Game on!” said Josh Arnold, Executive Director of Makers Mill. “Just when we thought we might have to go back to the drawing board after receiving construction bids over budget, we were able to secure additional funding to close the gap and break ground. This is an unbelievable feat and the result of countless hard-working, generous, and creative individuals. The past three years have tested our creativity and flexibility as we adjusted to shifts in budgets, building codes, architectural designs, environmental regulations, and currently, significant challenges to supply chains. We were able to jump these hurdles boosted by immeasurable support from the community, state and town agencies, and partnerships with other makerspaces, educational institutions, and businesses. And now, construction has commenced!”
Phase 1 renovations will result in a fully renovated, code-compliant, accessible, “shell” of a building. But of course, a makerspace is more than just a building shell. There are still two critical components Makers Mill is now shifting its focus toward: tools and people.
“We want to be ready to start serving the community as soon as the last nails are driven and the paint has barely dried,” added Arnold. “We want to be ready to welcome the community to a place that’s fun and fulfilling to tinker, fix, repair, invent, build, design, produce, craft, iterate, and innovate. To do so, we need tools. Last year we ran a very successful Tool Raiser program for several months that brought in a variety of pre-loved items that got us some basic equipment and tools for the shops, but there are still some very specialized items we need such as a laser cutter, CNC router, 3D printer, some of the bigger items for the wood and metal shops, and lots of supplies. Shifting gears like this, from fundraising for bricks and mortar to tools makes it all feel so much more real!”
Earlier this week Makers Mill kicked off its Tool-Kitty Fundraiser with NH Gives Day, raising almost $9,000 from 86 different donors. Funds raised will go directly toward outfitting the forthcoming Community Makerspace & Vocation Hub. “Our successful NH Gives Day was a great Tool-Kitty Fundraiser kickoff and we plan to continue this campaign through the rest of the month,” said Josh.
Meanwhile, plans and logistics are advancing to identify and schedule programs. Staff and volunteers are developing policies that ensure the future space is safe and efficient to operate. The staff and Board will also be keeping up with the construction schedule via meetings every other week with the construction manager and architects. Makers Mill will be posting regular construction updates on its social media feeds regularly, and website blog occasionally for anyone who would like to follow along.
Donations towards the Tool-Kitty Fund can be made online or by contacting Josh or Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-569-1500. Makers Mill is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. EIN # 65-1286865.