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The Cardinal Times

Makerspace slated to close due to budget cuts

Addison Locke
Makerspace advisor Joseph Hewitt in the Lincoln Makerspace. Hewitt is the facilitator of the Makerspace and assists students and teachers in creating unique projects like furniture, coasters, engines and more!

The Makerspace, a resource for students and teachers alike, contains tools such as computer numerical control machines, embroidering machines, 3D printers, laser cutters and more. Joseph Hewitt, facilitator of the Makerspace, is there to guide students with their projects and machines. The space is open to all students during the school day.

Makerspaces were added into new Portland Public Schools (PPS) schools in 2012 when the Bond Project, a project created to upgrade and modernize infrastructure within PPS, first started. Although the space has only been officially open for one year, proposed budget cuts will close the space for the 2024-2025 school year.

According to KGW, “Portland Public Schools announced it will cut $30 million of its budget. Half of the budget cuts will be to the central budget office, cutting about 6% of the central operations budget, the other $15 million will come from cuts to schools, about 2% of the school-based budget.”

Hewitt was made aware of the budget changes by Lincoln Administration.

“They said, ‘Hey, we want to let you know this is kind of the way things are looking and we want to prepare you for that.’ Reaching out to the other Makerspace facilitators, they were having the same conversations with their staff,” said Hewitt.

Because of budget cuts, the Makerspace would not receive compensation from the district as there is no allocated budget.

“A couple weeks ago, I talked with [Principal Peyton Chapman] directly, and right now, the district is not putting a budget for the Makerspace next year,” he said. “That means that positions like mine, as well as the access to materials that we currently have, is gone.”

These budget cuts will be detrimental to students who frequent the Makerspace like senior B Bleiler who has used the Makerspace almost everyday this year and has found it to be a vital tool to their creative endeavors.

“Joseph also has information on a lot of different topics among creative things so I use it as an information room for creativity,” said Bleiler. “I’m making a dress for IB art. I’m going to have Joseph’s help with making a pattern and 3D print some objects that are going on the dress.”

Students are passionate about the Makerspace. Oscar Felt, a senior, helped Hewitt collect signatures for a petition to keep the space open.

“Joseph [Hewitt] made petitions to show the amount of people who like the Makerspace and want to see it around and not close down next year. It’s a visual amount of people that care about the Makerspace,” said Felt.

Chapman believes that the Makerspace has been transformative and hopes that there will be a solution to keep it open and Hewitt employed.

“I’m dedicated to finding a way to keep Joseph here. He is one of those rare super talented humans that just connects with kids and school communities,” said Chapman. “Usually we are able to find a solution that supports kids and programs. If there is a person and it is possible, our team will keep working on it. I’ve asked for support with the district CTE office so we will see.”

Senior Cole Pickett is an avid user of the Makerspace for robotics and other STEM focused projects. He stresses the importance of not only the Makerspace as a community, but the learning environment as a whole.

“It’s not the Makerspace itself, it’s the people who run it and the community there. Joseph Hewitt is the supervisor and he is super welcoming to new students. I think that it’s people like him that foster this learning environment for students to be able to learn these skills,” said Pickett. “I think defunding it would be a mistake.”

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About the Contributor
Addison Locke
Addison Locke, Managing Print Editor
Addison is a senior this year. She is excited for line dancing, and loves going up to random people in the hallway and asking for their opinions! Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.

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    RubyApr 2, 2024 at 9:44 am

    so sad its leaving next year I go there all the time to take a break and do some fun work on random projects