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Things have moved fast at FCDI, since we secured space for our Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) in October 2018.  In just three months, with the help of some amazing volunteers and community partners, we’ve transformed a former Champs sportswear store into a fledgling Fab Lab.

Thanks to Hillsborough County Public Libraries, we were able to rescue and put to good use the mobile wall systems out of the HIVE makerspace at the John F. Germany Public Library.  The old annex building that housed the original HIVE facility is being torn down and we were glad to be able to retrieve the walls from the old makerspace – which FCDI founders Steve and Terri Willingham actually designed – and install them in AMRoC, a serendipitous piece of reuse.

We’ve received donations of time, tools and equipment from great community friends like eSmart Recycling, Tampa Hackerspace, 3D Musketeers, !p, SOFWERX, PLuGHiTz Live and local FIRST teams like Middleton Robotics.

While not officially open until the summer, AMRoC has been hosting meetings and programming since build out started. To date:

  • Over 400 people have used the facility, about 150 of them students
  • Three events have been held at AMRoC
  • Six different organizations have utilized the space
  • At least three different independent projects are under development at AMRoC

All of this, and we’ve yet to really open our doors!

This week is a busy one, as we gear up to host the 2nd ARM Regional Workshop at our new facility on January 22, and then join in the Synapse Summit celebration of innovation and ingenuity on January 23 & 24, where we’re helping facilitate the STEAM education exhibits again this year. 

We’re excited about next steps at AMRoC, and building out this hands-on center for empowerment and self-efficacy.  We love seeing people of all ages finding different ways to use the facility, from youth robotics teams practicing for events, to young entrepreneurs using AMRoC resources to help develop solutions, products and services, to local organizations and agencies exploring ways AMRoC can augment the work they do.

If you’re at the Synapse Summit this week, we hope you’ll stop by and visit with us in the STEAM exhibit area, at booth 30 in Hub 1.   We can’t wait to show you what we’re doing, and we hope you’ll join in and get involved in our programs and projects, as volunteers, donors, sponsors and program participants.