Truckee’s new community makerspace finds a home at the airport | SierraSun.com

Truckee’s new community makerspace finds a home at the airport

The collective teams of the Roundhouse and Truckee-Tahoe Airport pose for a photo opportunity.
Courtesy Greyson Howard |

What is a makerspace?

A makerspace is a community-operated shop or workspace where people with common interests — often in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art or electronic art — can meet, socialize and collaborate.

It provides a location for residents to use a variety of arts and crafts tools and equipment to individually or collaboratively build and create anything from art projects to robotics.

Visit truckeeroundhouse.org to find out more about the Truckee Roundhouse.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — In the true fashion of a makerspace, it took the cooperative efforts of a talented community to bring the Truckee Roundhouse home.

That’s what the 11 collaborators from the Truckee community might say now that the Roundhouse has found residency at Truckee Tahoe Airport, following an Aug. 26 unanimous decision by its board to approve a lease for the nonprofit.

Roundhouse organizers — which include a design engineer, marketing and business managers, photographers, and operation specialists — wanted to ensure experts in their respective positions could have a part in the development process, said Emily Vitas, Roundhouse board member and marketing manager of Truckee-Tahoe Lumber Company.

“We realized that this project is so much bigger than each of us,” Vitas said. “It’s really important to have experts in each area.”

The Roundhouse, a nonprofit founded earlier this year in an effort to bring a makerspace to Truckee, will likely open in its new location in early 2016, said Stephen Hoyt, a mechanical design engineer with the Roundhouse.

In the meantime, improvements to the airport building that will house the makerspace will occur over the next few months, said Hardy Bullock, director of aviation and community services with Truckee Tahoe Airport District.

The 3,040-square-foot warehouse space (marked E3) is located on the westernmost end of the facility, near the landside access area west of the airport.

Improvements will include getting the location ADA-compliant, as well as ensuring the occupancy permit will match with services the nonprofit will be providing, Bullock added.

“The mission and the vision fit well with our philosophy to enhance the community at large,” Bullock said. “We had the space available and were able to accommodate the organization.”

After reviewing the organization’s intentions, the district board believed a two-year lease agreement with a one year option would be a good fit, meaning, “if (Roundhouse officials) wanted to move on, they could, and the district would return the space to the market at market appraised rates,” Bullock said.

“My discussions with (the Roundhouse board) indicate the lease, and all other overhead associated with the organization, are being paid for through donations and memberships fees,” Bullock said.

Per the lease, the airport has the authority to audit, as needed, the nonprofit status and financial details of the organization in support of the community contribution.

In the meantime, Roundhouse organizers will be fundraising, asking for community donations and collecting equipment for the makerspace, including tools for metal and woodworking and technological arts, said Morgan Goodwin, Roundhouse chairman and Truckee Town Councilman.

“Truckee is a place that I love because of the people here pursuing their dreams and passions,” Goodwin said. “My desire is to create a makerspace that services that will and helps take that energy to the next level.”

Roundhouse organizers are also soliciting community input on what equipment people would like to see, accessible at truckeeroundhouse.org.

“Community members will be able to access the makerspace with memberships, which will likely be around $50 a month, or around $500 a year, as well as special lower student rates, drop-in rates, and punch cards, also to be determined,” said Karin Johnson, Roundhouse board member. “The space will also offer classes to members so that they can learn a variety of arts, crafts, and trades.”