Two 3D printers are available in the front room at Maker Works in Ann Arbor.

Two 3D printers are available in the front room at Maker Works in Ann Arbor.

Photo by Jonathan Shead

Bosch grant awarded to The Hawk for makerspace

By: Jonathan Shead | Farmington Press | Published July 7, 2020

 Maker Works in Ann Arbor features a jewelry-creating workshop.

Maker Works in Ann Arbor features a jewelry-creating workshop.

Photo by Jonathan Shead


FARMINGTON HILLS —  Plans for Farmington Hills’ new community center, The Hawk, just got a little more creative.

With the help of a $537,000 grant from the Bosch Community Fund, the city plans to add a makerspace at the new community center. The grant will provide $179,000 per year for three years for the makerspace.

Farmington Hill Special Services Deputy Director Bryan Farmer said he and his staff were elated to have the continued support of Bosch on another community project. Bosch has also provided funding to build a fishing pier at Founders Sports Park and funded science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs at the Heritage Park Nature Center.

Since 2012, when the Bosch Community Fund began, it has awarded $779,666 to the city’s Friends of the Park nonprofit.

“If it wasn’t for Bosch, there’s a lot that wouldn’t happen in this community, so it really does take community support. Our parks millage can only go so far,” Farmer said, adding that the grant amount was more than what the city had expected or asked for. “They’ve given us enough money to really make something big like this happen. It really helps the community out and makes a big impact.”

Bosch Community Fund President Kathleen Owsley said awarding Farmington Hills the grant was an “easy yes” because of the city’s stewardship with previous grant funds and because a makerspace runs parallel to the concepts that Bosch as a company is interested in fostering.

“It just seemed like the right fit, since we support STEM education and project-based learning.”

While The Hawk is on schedule to open to the public in January 2021, Farmer said the makerspace, like some other programming, likely won’t be up and running until March or April. The fitness center and other recreational activities will be available in January 2021.

The city has been working with Maker Works in Ann Arbor to understand how to properly build the space, what equipment to implement and how to operate it with proper staff training and safety procedures.

Farmer said year one of the project will be focused on building the infrastructure and bringing in smaller tools and technologies — ones you might find in a woodshop: 3D printers and computers with software to run laser cutters, engravers or other computer-aided design software. The makerspace will also have rentable storage areas for people to store their projects in, as opposed to lugging them in day after day.

“Year two and three will be when the city begins to bring in some larger items, like ShopBots, which cut 3D shapes out of wood or plastic, and others,” Farmer said.

Each shift at the makerspace will be staffed by a programmer and a technical person cross-trained in their disciplines, “as well as a shift leader and assistants to help with operational tasks.” Staff will be trained at Maker Works prior to running the space in The Hawk next spring.

Farmer sees a lot of potential for the upcoming space, from educational classes for adults and field trips for school children, to helping someone find a new hobby, practice a career-related skill or even develop their ideas to build a company.

“We’re giving people the opportunity to try something that they may not know much about, but we’re also able to take them to the highest level they can go. With a makerspace, it’s that concept. They can learn a little bit about some way to build or do something, but then they may even have an idea that can help them create their own business or a future of producing something,” Farmer said.

Farmer anticipates the space to serve approximately 1,000 primary school-age students; 6,000 secondary school-age students; 2,000 post-secondary students; and 2,000 adults per year.

“The sheer magnitude of how many people are going to be served by this space is going to be a game changer for the community,” Owsley said, adding that she hopes the new space can provide a confidence boost for those who use it, especially those who aren’t as well represented in the STEM community.

“We love the idea of people being able to get in there, use their hands (and) make things. We really do believe that project-based learning experiences can lead to the confidence to be thinking about things, and ultimately maybe some of those kids will think about careers at places like Bosch just by having this experience at the makerspace.”