With the growing responsibilities of adulthood, some people lose their sense of whimsy and wonder. Fishers Parks and Recreation wants to spark that interest again with the creation of the Fishers Maker Playground. Located in the Hub & Spoke building, the playground offers tools and machines to let individuals aged 16 and older create without limits.
“The idea began with the inception of the Hub & Spoke building,” says Sarah Sandquist, Director of Parks and Recreation at the City of Fishers. “The Fishers Parks Department is now based out of the building as well. We’re thrilled that our space now happens to have both offices and ample classroom space to offer, rentals to the community, programming for the community, and the maker playground. which is full of all kinds of things to encourage people to work with their hands, tinker and be creative.”
The 15,000-square-foot space includes a community workshop, metal shop, 3D printing space, welding, CNC routers, a laser cutter and classrooms.
“CNC stands for computerized numerical control,” Sandquist says. “It’s a manufacturing process in which you pre-program software. You would first use computer software to layout your project. Then the CNC machine executes your project.”
The four classrooms are designed for STEAM — that is, science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics — learning, experiential learning and collaboration spaces.
“The classrooms will be utilized to teach, train and inspire makers to craft their next project,” Sandquist says. “It will all be based on science, technology, engineering, math and art. We want kids to come in and work with their hands for ideation.”
The Fishers High School robotics team will start using the classroom spaces for their meetings in the fall.
“The classrooms will be used for curriculum during the day and then we will have special events in the evenings and weekends,” Sandquist says. “We would like to expand on people getting familiar with the tools we have in the space. That means teaching them the proper usage of a hammer, all the way to operating the CNC machine.”
The Maker Playground isn’t the first of its kind but is unique because a city parks department is operating it.
“Maker spaces are popping up all over the country, but most of the other maker spaces are either private ventures or through libraries,” Sandquist says. “Ignite at Hamilton East Public Library is a great partner of ours. We look forward to collaborating with them. We like to think that Ignite is a great space for an entry point into the world of making. Then our maker playground is the next step. If you’re ready to expand and utilize some more advanced equipment, then you’d come to the maker playground, as well.”
Guests can purchase daily passes or memberships. The memberships are open to individuals aged 16 and up and are based on a tiered structure. The Maker Playground is located at 8100 E. 106th St. in West Fishers, near the intersection of 106th Street and Nickel Plate Trail.