MAPS Fab Lab nears completion
This past summer, MAPS announced the hiring of the district’s first-ever Fab Lab director in Josh Zalewski.
A Fab Lab is defined as a facility which provides state of the art equipment, focusing on problem solving during the design process.
In early August, Zalewski discussed not only his immediate plans for bringing a MAPS Fab Lab to fruition, but goals to have the benefits of the lab accessible district-wide, to students of all ages. Hence why he fondly refers to the project as the MAPS Fab Lab, rather than MHS Fab Lab.
“I am excited for the future of a MAPS Fab Lab. I envision a facility everyone district-wide can be proud of and the community can get behind and be proud of as well,” he explained. “Our ultimate goal is to assure students have the skills necessary to be successful whether they plan to enter the work force or pursue post-secondary education. We want our students to be college and career ready,”
Last week, Zalewski showcased the progress the 40’x40’ space has made in just three short months. What was once a computer lab located in the northeast area of the high school, has now become an innovation in progress, which will soon become a welcomed addition to the MHS Technical Education Program.
“Once construction of the lab began in Mid-August things came together rather quickly!” Zalewski explains. “Our team of contractors has been amazing, We couldn’t be happier with how far we have come in a relatively short time.”
In addition to new flooring and a Bluejay-true blue and white color scheme, the Fab Lab has already been outfitted with an array of power tools and state of the art equipment including a 54-inch large format printer, three robotic arms for robotic assembly along with a small conveyor belt and two CNC routers.
While most of the hands-on equipment students will use is already in place, a few additional features will be forthcoming by the estimated completion date of mid-January, including a new ventilation system, air compressor, laser engravers, and audio/visual equipment to facilitate future video conferencing capabilities.
Zalewski is quick to point out, while the work space will soon be completed and ready for students to get to work, the Fab Lab itself will always remain a work in progress.
“The MAPS Fab Lab will be constantly evolving in terms of equipment and subject matter discussed, same as industrial practices are constantly evolving,” he said. “It will always be a living facility keeping pace with the ever-changing trends of industry.”
“As second semester approaches, I am very excited about the opportunities the Fab Lab will present for our high school students,” added MAPS Superintendent Dr. John Sample. “This learning environment offers a multitude of benefits for our students, not only locally as we partner with area businesses, but from a global perspective as they will have the capability to communicate with students in other countries. I am extremely appreciative of Mr. Zalewski and the progress he has made to bring the Fab Lab to its current state. A special thanks to our area businesses for their support as well. I am happy for the future of our students and for our community.”
As Sample alluded to, the Fab Lab will be open and ready for students as of Jan. 28, which marks the start of the school year’s second semester.
When completed, Zalewski is focused on the Fab Lab being a place where students of all ages can work hands-on, in applying the knowledge acquired via other coursework.
“When our space is completed, this will be where you learn why you’ve learned everything else,” he adds with a grin.