Mar 24, 2014 12:42 AM by Alex Labat
A 10,000-square-foot building in Lafayette is set to transform after a successful fundraising campaign for the Hub City's first "makerspace". A little over a month ago, Crawford Comeaux announced his interest in starting up a community based workshop. After a month of donations, the project has reached it's initial funding goal. Comeaux and a small group of collaborators have just secured a building in which to start up the makerspace.
What awaits you as you enter the 10,000-square-foot property off Cyprus Street in Lafayette, is the answer to the question, "What is this place?". "To put it simply, a makerspace is a community center with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, collaboration, and learning, for the purpose of enabling community members to design, prototype, and create", says the narrator of an introductory video to Lafayette's "unnamed" makerspace. Crawford Comeaux and his team were on hand for an open-source open house Sunday. Attendees were informed on the current status of the makerspace, and given the chance to provide input on it's future.
While there were dozens on hand, many of them were former students looking for a space to continue their learning. "UL here has architectural departments, has art departments, has computer science departments. And those people thrive in that environment, and then they get out and then there's no place to go recapture that synergy and the resources that were provided to them", says David Maynor, President of the Board of Lafayette Makerspace, Inc. Before the open house even opened it's doors, equipment for things like a darkroom and robotics were donated to the space, and many signed up for a membership, just at the thought of the opportunities the space might provide. "The more space you have, the more you can exercise those opportunities. You can flex that out. And that's going to be the big draw here", says Eric Martin. Martin is a painter and photographer who's looking to start-up a second job, but lacks the appropriate space to do so.
Those membership fees will hopefully keep the month-to-month cost of the makerspace low. And if the turnout was any indication, there should be plenty of members to take up some of that space. "But there's also been a lot of interest internationally in terms of wanting to visit and wanting to help out. So, we don't have to worry about involvement at all", says Comeaux. If you have any interest in following the Lafayette Makerspace and it's progress, just visit their website here.