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FABulous Fabrication

Jacob Mahner and Makenzie Pence

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At Rhinelander High School the Fab lab has been a broad topic. The school’s administration contemplated the idea of it for a while before bringing it to RHS during the 2016-2017 school year.

The fab lab is a lab with many high tech and expensive machines, it’s a place where students, teachers and community members can dream of things, plan things and then create just about anything you want.

“It is an opportunity for students and public to explore fabrication and Technology experiences that you wouldn’t just normally have the option to use in everyday life because of the machines in the equipment that are involved.” said Theresa Maney.

A lot of people wonder where all the money came from to start the fab lab and buy all the equipment that’s in there now. There is something called grants, grants are a huge help to the fab lab. The fab lab at RHS gets a grant from the state of wisconsin

“The Grant was for $25,000 and then our Community Partners had to match or the district had to match it so in total it would have been $50,000 of both services and funding for equipment now we’re getting ready to do another one,” said Maney.

Others wonder how often you can get grants and how to get more money to keep the fab lab going. The Grant pays for the equipment and some of the training for the teachers to use the equipment but it’s mostly the equipment and the up keep of it.

Michael Wojtusik, a teacher at RHS has been involved with the fab lab for 2 years. Mr. Wojtusik is the head advisor of the fab lab he participated in summer classes along with many other teachers from the area, In the classes they learn how to use the programs and equipment .

“It has given me a lot of learning opportunities and it has also engaged students that I have in class.” said Wojtusik.

Many students that take classes in the fab lab love that they can create anything they have in mind and be independent and creative.

Absolutely I think its fun. There is a lot of cool things you can create, for gifts, for yourself and if you have any ideas, you have the opportunity to design it and create it.” said Tyler Frederick, a senior at RHS.

Students, Teachers and anyone from the community can benefit from the fab lab.

“It’s really helpful for building relationships, for example if we can develop skills for our students who are future employees of the local employers, like Ponsse that helps them prepare for life after high school and they’re getting more prepared coming in with the skills they’re already looking for and then they can continue to develop those skills.” said Maney.

Community member, Christy Fehlen said, “It has benefited me very much, it is fun to do with family.”

The school hopes for the fab lab to continue to grow, bringing in more students and more families.

“I think it’s an experience that if everyone of our high school students could have before they leave, you’ll never have a better opportunity to work with these really incredible machines.”

The Fab Lab is now open for Community use on monday nights and wednesday nights. At that time it is staffed by a teacher who will help anyone with their desire to make or create on the different machines and the cost is $50 for a single membership.

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