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The building is just beginning

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Central Point School District officials aren’t fazed by having to push the grand opening of the CraterWorks Makerspace back until next month.

“When you’re dealing with the current construction market, a public entity, and you’re building something that is unique, there are a lot of times where we’ve had to say, ‘OK, back to the table — what do we do now?’” said Superintendent Samantha Steele. “But we don’t take ‘no.’”

The approximately 20,000-square-foot facility will see its public grand opening May 18, instead of its original date of April 27. For now, construction crews continue to work on transforming the former home of Crater Iron into a space for activities as diverse as the people organizers expect to walk through its doors.

In some ways, the facility is planned down to the finest details, but in others, vagueness is an invitation for future makerspace users to fine-tune what’s provided there with their own suggestions for tools and technology.

“We wanted to invite the community in, and the people who will actually be using this space, and find out what tools and equipment they want,” said Taneea Browning, executive director of the nonprofit Direct Involvement Recreation Teaching, or D.I.R.T., which will manage the makerspace.

Browning said one major guiding principle for her organization and the school district is safety.

After all, some of those tools include high-power saws and other machines that use extreme heat or extreme pressure.

Walking through the semi-completed interior, Steele and Browning explained the rationale behind certain design or material choices, including the feedback from industry partners that helped lead to those choices.

Get a sneak peek at the facility in the video below:

Polycarbonate walls in many areas allow visibility of electrical and heating infrastructure, a kind of visual textbook for the various creations that will take shape at CraterWorks.

Other details are a nod to the historical structure being transformed into a high-tech area, such as the cranes from the original Crater Iron facility.

“The cranes are a fabulous focal point,” Steele said.

Measure 98 funds and private donations went into creating the space, Steele said. Phase One of the renovation, including fitting it out with equipment, cost about $4.7 million, she said.

Organizers expect the space will sustain itself with paid memberships. Specific details about membership costs will be available on the CraterWorks website in coming days, Steele said.

Before the grand opening, CraterWorks will play host to Central Point’s Saturday Market starting May 4, with a hope to expand into an evening market, Browning said.

She envisioned vendors designing and creating products in the makerspace and then selling them at the new evening artisan’s market.

Including input from so many partners from different industries has drummed up enthusiasm, the superintendent said.

“As someone who’s been 30 years in public education, every program brings criticism and support,” Steele said. “This is one of the few things I’ve ever been involved with that has just had tremendous support. I think people recognize how it supports kids’ education, community and industry. It hits all three.”

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Craterworks, a makers space for community members and students, is set open on May 18.
In Central Point, the CraterWorks makerspace will provide spaces, tools and training for students and community members to create. Taneea Browning with Direct Involvement Recreation Teaching (D.I.R.T.) explains the model. Video by Kaylee Tornay.Thumbnail