During her first year at Roycemore School, Hanu Snyder decided to take his January 2020 short-term project — done by students at Roycemore High School — and create a space on campus dedicated to his peers. Snyder, an architecture enthusiast, designed a makerspace, a place where students can use technology to innovate.
Roycemore opened its Innovation Center on Thursday, dedicating 6,000 square feet to the makerspace modeled by Snyder. Roycemore plans to equip the center with creative tools suitable for a variety of mediums. These include a maker lab with 3D printers and sewing machines, a student lounge, and a digital media studio with sound booths and editing rooms.
Snyder, a 2021 Roycemore grad who is taking a year off before heading to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study architecture next fall, said he’s excited to see what the space becomes when students can use it.
“That’s really where it will come to life, not necessarily one person’s vision, but the effect that the whole community can have in creating that space,” Snyder said.
The project was primarily conceptualized by Snyder and Aidan Scheidt, then a college student. Snyder said he initially knew he wanted to focus on architecture for his project, but he began designing a makerspace at the suggestion of Roycemore Head of School Adrianne Finley Odell.
Odell put him in touch with Scheidt, who had previously interviewed students for a project about what should be done with Room 200, the empty space that will now become the center of innovation.
In the survey, many students said they wanted a digital makerspace with tools like 3D printers, Scheidt said.
Snyder stressed the importance of including student feedback, such as suggestions collected in Scheidt’s survey.
“It’s really one of the most important parts of the makerspace — you want to have things that students will want to use versus things that stay there,” Snyder said.
With Scheidt’s findings in mind, Snyder worked with a local architect to design a space that met the students’ visions.
Snyder presented his project to Roycemore’s board in early 2020. Although plans were partially halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board approved the development of an innovation center in June. 2021.
“We’re a… school that’s all about agency, voice, and student choice,” Odell said. “So just the fact that we’re creating spaces in the Innovation Center that respond to what students say they want to do and how they envision using the space is really unique.”
Board chair Kathleen Scheidt, who is Aidan’s mother, said the makerspace was the ideal use for room 200, which had been deliberately left empty to accommodate future needs.
“There’s this really big unused space that, as we’ve seen school enrollment increase and the focus and needs of education change to really look at innovation and problem solving, it’s It was a nice confluence of opportunities to pursue, to explore what the school could do with this space,” Scheidt said.
The Innovation Center will be solely funded by donors. Odell pointed out that there is a “huge financial commitment” to the center and the school itself, where about half of the students receive financial aid.
Currently, Odell said, the center is halfway to reaching its $3 million fundraising goal.
Now a freshman, Aidan Scheidt said that because the makerspace is becoming a reality, he feels empowered to keep innovating on future design challenges. Scheidt said he hopes to enter the fields of spaceflight, biochemical engineering and medicine.
“It’s the first time a project of this scale has gone to something like this,” Scheidt said. “It’s really exciting because it makes me think of all the other things I could do with the help of the community and great ideas.”
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