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Fusing CNM’s makerspace with Innovate ABQ

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The FUSE Makerspace will move from its location on CNM’s main campus into a building that is part of Innovate ABQ. (COURTESY OF FUSE MAKERSPACE)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Central New Mexico Community College’s FUSE Makerspace will provide a lot of high-tech power to turn ideas into marketable products when the Innovate ABQ research and development hub Downtown opens in August.

CNM and city leaders announced on Thursday that the CNM makerspace, which opened in April 2016 at a 3,000-square-foot space on the main campus, will move into a 13,500-square-foot building at the seven-acre First Baptist Church property at Broadway and Central. That’s where the University of New Mexico and its public and private partners are building out Innovate ABQ.

The makerspace will be just west of the new Lobo Rainforest building on the northeast corner of the site. That six-story building, scheduled to open in August, will house entrepreneurship programs for students and businesses to build startups and take new technology from UNM and other universities and labs to market.

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With CNM’s makerspace next door, aspiring entrepreneurs will have on-site access to the state-of-the-art design and manufacturing equipment they’ll need to build businesses from the ground up, said Mayor Richard Berry.

“It will become one of the finest makerspaces in New Mexico and elsewhere,” the mayor said at an event Downtown announcing CNM’s plans. “People who might not otherwise have such resources will be able to come here and work on things like table saws, laser cutters and 3D printers.”

The makerspace will occupy the old Noon Day Ministries soup kitchen and shelter, which the city turned into an “Epicenter” for community entrepreneurship activities in 2015. The Epicenter moved out last summer when developers broke ground on the Lobo Rainforest building.

CNM will invest about $1.2 million to renovate and move into the facility, financed in good part by grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, New Mexico Gas Co.’s parent firm Emera Inc., and the McCune Charitable Foundation.

Kellogg approved a three-year, $2 million grant in March to support CNM Ingenuity, the entity that runs the makerspace and CNM’s STEMulus Center Downtown. CNM will use some of that money for the makerspace move, and for a variety of programs related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Emera awarded a $500,000 grant to the city of Albuquerque last fall for its innovation and entrepreneurship programs. The city, in turn, pumped that money into CNM’s makerspace initiative.

Kellogg funding aims to boost affordable access for low-income and minority communities, said Kellogg program officer Alvin Warren. The foundation has granted about $7 million to innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives around New Mexico.

The makerspace is open to everyone, said CNM chief community engagement officer Samantha Sengel.

Even at its cramped location on campus, about 300 people have already used the makerspace. In fact, 12 startups are currently working there, said CNM President Kathie Winograd.

“With 13,000 square feet, we’ll be able to greatly expand the makerspace and serve a lot more people,” Winograd said.

 

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