Makerspace construction progresses steadily
One would be wise to knock on wood ahead of this announcement, but there has been plenty of that during the last six months of renovation so we’ll say it anyway: construction at Makers Mill at 23 Bay St. in Wolfeboro, has rounded a corner and is on track to wrap up early in the new year.
Sheetrock is on the walls, the building is weather-tight, windows have all been installed, plumbing, electric, and insulation inspections have been approved, the sprinkler system is in, the elevator shaft is ready for the LULA, and believe it or not, painters are starting their first coat of primer this week. Progress has been steady since construction began this spring and the timeline has stayed more or less on track, despite the inevitable curveballs along the way. The majority of the work is due for completion by the year’s end, leaving a short punch list in the new year before a certificate of occupancy will be sought, positioning Makers Mill to open the first dedicated Community Makerspace & Vocation Hub in Carroll County.
Makers Mill follows a decade of local programming
If you have been following Makers Mill, formerly known as Global Awareness Local Action (G.A.L.A.), then you know this project didn’t happen overnight. After a decade of local sustainability programming, the last three years have been dedicated to visioning, planning, and fundraising to bring Makers Mill to life. The forthcoming makerspace will house a woodshop, metalshop, Fablab, spaces for fiber arts, fine arts, jewelry making, AV & IT, as well as multipurpose studio and meeting spaces. Makers Mill 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.
“Watching this vision come to life has been surreal to say the least,” shares Makers Mill Executive Director, Josh Arnold, who helped found the organization nearly fifteen years ago. “I got pretty emotional the other day when I walked up to the second floor to see the sheetrock on the walls for the first time. I couldn’t help but think of all the people who’ve contributed to making this a reality, whether it was money or time, or more often both. I was overcome by gratitude for all it has taken to get this far, and giddy with excitement for what’s to come.”
Construction has come a long way since spring
While vision for Makers Mill was percolating over a decade ago, the actual renovation began this spring. The first of twenty-two subcontractors on the job began with EnviroVantage responsible for demolition. Chestnut and Cape followed with rough carpentry and started construction of the new second-story floor, a new fire exit stairwell (egress), and new window and door rough openings. Sheran’s Concrete arrived next to patch and pour concrete in certain areas including the elevator pit, front entry, and a large section of slab that had to be replaced where the future bathrooms have been framed.
By the summer, the rough-in electrical and plumbing by Progressive Electric and Online Plumbing respectively, were well-underway. Master Roofers took advantage of a nice stretch of August weather to re-roof the large 60’x60’ section of the building that included new dormers. John Carter Sprinkler fabricated an impressive sprinkler system that received all the necessary blessings from the Wolfeboro Fire Chief, Thomas J. Zotti. Revision Energy was also onsite during the summer months to install racks for the solar panels that should arrive on site any day.
Quality Insulation arrived just in time for the dropping temperatures of fall and completed their insulation in October. Whitten Works was not far behind to enclose the insulation with sheetrock. A more visible crew for passersby was Construx Inc, who installed the navy-blue metal siding, which will accent reverse board and batten being installed by Chestnut and Cape on the original gable facing Bay St.
Collaboration and future plans at Makers Mill
Rounding a corner is not to be confused with completion, as there is still plenty of work to be done. Makers Mill is collaborating with Scott Meserve’s Precision Manufacturing students at Lakes Region Technology Center to fabricate the metal posts for the main stairwell. Students have been meeting onsite and virtually with Scott Simons Architects and Milestone Construction and Engineering to fine-tune the design. There are also plans to work with Tyler Reed’s Construction Trades students from LRTC on the front entry desk.
With construction on track, Makers Mill staff and board are shifting focus to operational plans and logistics. A team of approximately 30 volunteer Makers Mill “Pilots” will be working together over the winter to build shelves, move in and test tools, write safety policies and training curriculum, and plan for a summer 2022 opening to the public.
There is an extensive tool wish list, for which Makers Mill has launched a Tool-Kitty Fundraiser to purchase tools and equipment for the new shop spaces. Contact Josh or Carol at email@example.com, or 603-569-1500, or sign up for our newsletter to learn more and stay connected.