Independence, Kansas, September 8, 2017—The Fab Lab ICC (Independence Community College) received a grant award from the Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) for $350,000 on August 15, 2017 to help fund the construction of the Fab Lab expansion building.
The EDA grant was first initiated in early 2015 when Jim Correll, Fab Lab ICC director, and Tim Haynes, Fab Lab ICC manager, had their first conversations with Mark Werthmann, EDA field representative for Kansas, Nebraska and western Missouri. Within these initial conversations, the idea to add a new building that would double the size of existing facilities. From there, Correll and Haynes took the necessary steps to get through the application process.
The Fab Lab ICC expansion building project started out at $500,000 and has since turned into a $700,000 project. The total project costs include the building and main components.
With hopes of receiving the grant from the EDA and a matched $350,000 to go towards the project from various donors, Correll and Haynes went on with plans for the expansion.
“One lesson we’ve learned is that when it’s supposed to happen, things will fall into place and it will happen,” Correll said. “We didn’t worry about where we would get the money. We just let things take their course.”
Haynes says that the expansion will improve services to the users, which is what they have always strived to be able to do.
“Many people have asked us when we will have welding, offices, work tables and painting facilities,” said Haynes. “I’m very excited to say that soon we will have all of those things. When we first began the application process for the EDA grant, we had no idea if the expansion would happen— but looking at the history of Fab Lab ICC, it seems inevitable that it would happen someday. As long as people believe in what we are doing, I’m confident we will continue to grow.”
Construction drawings and quotes from contractors are currently in the works. The expansion project is expected to be completed by fall semester 2018.