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Makerspace opens next lab at Pyramid Campus

January 27, 2015
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Makerspace opens next lab at Pyramid Campus
GR Makers is an open community lab that offers members a range of tools and equipment to create prototypes, as well as a schedule of workshops and classes. Photo via fb.com

A makerspace is opening its second location at The Pyramid Campus to help students there have hands-on access to technical learning.

GR Makers, an open community lab in downtown Grand Rapids, said today that it will open a lab within The Pyramid Campus in Caledonia, at 6100 E. Paris Ave. SE.

The 663,000 square-foot campus was previously the Steelcase Pyramid.

GR Makers provides members with tools and equipment such as 3D printers, CNC milling machines and laser cutters. The membership-based prototyping studio also offers educational workshops and skilled training classes.

GR Makers will join Olivet Nazarene University’s School of Graduate and Continuing Studies program at The Pyramid Campus, a collaborative environment for students from preschool through graduate school and focused on STEAM programs, or science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

GR Makers at the Pyramid

Jerry Zandstra, co-founder of The Pyramid Campus, said they're thrilled to have GR Makers in the new educational hub.

“Their entrepreneurial spirit and their hands-on experience in creating and making will bring tremendous benefit to the community and the schools in this incredible facility,” Zandstra said.

Samuel Bowles, VP of GR Makers, said the partnership is an opportunity to expand its focus on educational programming within a great facility.

“It started with some conversation between us and the folks that were opening The Pyramid,” Bowles said. “Steelcase has these state-of-the-art facilities in their model shops, which would be the perfect location. The second thing that was particularly interesting to us was that we saw how a partnership with The Pyramid group would allow us to advance one of our three pillars.”

As an organization, GR Makers tries to build a community focusing on three areas: enabling personal expression; providing education for all ages; and supporting entrepreneurship. The new location will be able to accommodate up to 6,000 additional students and members and provide access to tools and machinery valued at more than $1 million.

GR Makers’ Grand Rapids headquarters will also be available to students and members who use The Pyramid Campus location.

Although some of the details are yet to be finalized, Bowles said GR Makers will be leasing between 23,000 and 31,000 square feet, which will be available to existing members in addition to students and businesses located at The Pyramid Campus.

GR Makers is also anticipating hiring an additional staff member to assist in developing new programming and a curriculum in collaboration with the schools and educational organizations located at The Pyramid Campus and the surrounding area.

Making other partnerships

“Since we began GR Makers, we have been providing educational opportunities of various sorts and had partnerships with organizations throughout West Michigan,” Bowles said. “We are having conversations with a number of different school districts and educational entities, like libraries and places like Kent ISD, about how we can provide additional programming and space for various programs.” 

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