Lorain County Community College’s Fab Lab is now just the second Fab Lab in the world designated as a “Super Lab” by The Fab Foundation, a non-profit based out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Bits and Atoms.
LCCC’s Fab Lab qualified for the designation due to the level of offerings, capabilities and commitment to providing community access through LCCC’s Fab Lab. LCCC’s Fab Lab is the first to receive the designation of a Super Lab in North America and only second in the world. The other Super Lab is located in Barcelona, Spain.
LCCC’s Fab Lab was the first Fab Lab outside of MIT in the U.S. when it opened in 2005. Since that time, LCCC’s Fab Lab has grown from 300 square feet to over 5,000 square feet of comprehensive makerspace where people can make just about anything. LCCC’s Fab Lab is open to the community approximately 35 hours per week, offers custom workshops, STEAM Maker camps and year-round programming for K-12 youth.
Community members, including inventors, entrepreneurs, artists and educators, have access to the greatly expanded Fab Lab digital makerspace, which is located in the Patsie C. and Dolores Jenée Campana Center for Ideation and Invention. “The Campana Center and Fab Lab are places that inspire anyone who steps inside to dream, create, build, and most importantly, to experience the connection between building a prototype and a company around it,” said LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D.
The Campana Center, originally opened in 2001, recently underwent a 10,000-foot expansion, which includes lab and equipment upgrades. The renovation was made possible through a private/public partnership that included nearly 20 federal, state and philanthropic sponsors of the project. The expansion includes enhanced equipment and labs to provide students, business and industry and the community greater access to tools and resources designed to stimulate new inventions, foster industry growth and support education and workforce development – with the goal to position Northeast Ohio for new economic opportunities.
“The Campana Center is Northeast Ohio’s Manufacturing Marketplace, offering companies a one-stop solution not only to equipment, but to the services and talent needed to grow their enterprise,” said Ballinger. “The LCCC Fab Lab within the Campana Center fulfills a critical role for the growth of digital fabrication across North America.”
As a Super Fab Lab, the LCCC Fab Lab functions as an entity that can take on special tasks such as helping nearby labs join the network, establishing connections between them, guiding traffic and activity more efficiently, and helping the network of fab labs scale up.
“There is a need for these Super Fab Labs to help bring new labs online, and to help support regionally and nationally the educational outreach, the scaling of infrastructure, the scaling of business and economic opportunity, and the scaling of the social impact of digital fabrication,” said Kelly Zelesnik, dean of LCCC’s Engineering, Business and Information Technologies division.