Local Community Foundations Donate $105,000 to Makerspace in MCC Downtown Center

MCC Dowtown Center

The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation has donated $75,000 and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFFMC) has donated $30,000 to support the makerspace inside Muskegon Community College’s Rooks|Sarnicola Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies in downtown Muskegon.

Set to open in January 2018, the Institute is part of MCC’s Downtown Center, which is currently undergoing a $14.27 million renovation to house the College’s applied technology and entrepreneurial studies programs. Half of the Downtown Center will open in fall 2017, with the remaining space becoming operational in January.

“Muskegon Community College is thankful to both local Foundations for their generous support of our Downtown Center,” said MCC President Dale K. Nesbary. “We have been providing higher education to Muskegon and Grand Haven students, both on our main campus and in Ottawa County for decades. With the opening later this year of our state-of-the-art technology and entrepreneurial facilities located inside our Downtown Center, MCC envisions its graduates helping to build an even stronger economy across West Michigan in the years ahead.”

“We’re always excited to partner with organizations who do such good work in our community,” said Holly Johnson, President of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation. “The MCC Downtown Center will positively impact both students and employers in Northwest Ottawa County, and we applaud the work MCC is doing to expand and meet our community’s needs.”

Chris McGuigan, president/CEO of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, added, “The Muskegon Community College Downtown Center presented an innovative opportunity for us to join with the Fremont and Grand Haven Area Community Foundations to support this important, new regional asset that benefits all our communities.”

“Innovation and continuous improvement are values in philanthropy and in our region,” she continued. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to come together to support the makerspace, where creativity, innovation and hard work will be continually present and encouraged!”

The 3,000-square foot makerspace will be named in honor of both the Grand Haven Community Foundation and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County. The Fremont Area Community Foundation’s $5,000 gift in September 2015 was linked to the naming of the ticket booth located off the lobby in the Rooks|Sarnicola Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.

“We are extremely thankful to the local foundations for their generous support of a state-of-the-art facility that will assist our community members,” explained Cyndi Langlois, associate dean of workforce and talent development at MCC.

“Muskegon Community College’s makerspace, also known as a Fab Lab, will be open to West Michigan schools, industry, and community members of all ages,” added David Stradal, chair of MCC’s Business and Entrepreneur Programs and the Fab Lab Director. “The Fab Lab is based on four key principles: learn, imagine, design, and build.  Its capabilities will include simple to very complex 3D scanning and printing, electronics, laser cutting and etching, robotics, and much more.”

“For example, young kids can first learn basic software skills which will enable them to imagine and design whatever they can dream of on a computer.  We will then help them build it using 3D printing.  Educators call this STEM- based learning – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The kids will simply call it fun. This generous gift helps us create more fun.”

“By encouraging youth and all community members to engage with STEM and Entrepreneurial ventures, MCC hopes to further develop the pipeline for skilled trades and to encourage community members to be more creative in the development of potential product lines,” added Langlois.

“The Fab Lab will serve local industry with sophisticated capabilities to relieve internal bottlenecks or support after-office-hours collaborative work,” said Stradal. “Local entrepreneurs will be able to take an idea from napkin to prototype either by using the equipment themselves or having students create CAD files and prototypes for them. “

For more information about MCC Downtown Center naming opportunities, contact Cyndi Langlois at (231) 777-0456 or visit www.muskegoncc.edu/downtown.