ProjectsGurusThe SpaceEquipmentSchedule

The Space

Welcome to the Idea Center.

The Idea Center (aka "the IC", "the lab", "the coolest place in Maine"... okay maybe that last one is just what Matt calls it) is a fully-equipped, fully-public, registered Fab Lab and one of the first of its kind in New England.

An entity of the Blue Hill Public School district and located in the newly-renovated Arts Wing of the Blue Hill Consolidated School, the IC first and foremost is an educational space for the students of Blue Hill.

Created in 2014 by Matt Jurick (technology director), Ben Politte (then- high school student), Tracy Gandy (school librarian), and Markus Ford (local teacher), the IC became the most advanced K-8 digital fabrication program in the state of Maine. Funded through extensive grant writing and fundraising, the program underwent several capital campaigns to expand its capabilities every year.

While we love our space now, we also have fond memories of how this whole project began...

"The Lab"

The "lab" as we know it today is very different from where it started 10 years ago. Pictured here, in newly-painted "Sweet Pea Green" by local supporter Don Hartley, is the Blue Hill Consolidated School computer lab. Located on the second floor in the middle school wing, the computer lab housed 18 student computing terminals, a white board, a digital projector, and a mobile green screen (iMovie was a big deal back then.)

In 2013, through a local endowment grant, we purchased our first digital fabrication machine: the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer. Later that spring, through the same endowment organization (thanks, BEEM!), we added the MakerBot Digitizer 3D scanner. This was our first step in what would become a major evolutionary journey.

Building off the immense success of the 3D printing/scanning curriculum, we set to work on a total overhaul of the space in 2014. We raised $20,000 and refurbished the computer lab into the first version of the Idea Center. Older computer terminals and folding tables were replaced with fewer, newer computers and workshop benches. We added vinyl cutting, electronics assembly, and milling capabilities to our lineup, and stocked the lab with materials, tools, and resources.

Not content to sit still (innovation waits for no person), we went back out the following summer in 2015 to campaign for the addition of a laser cutter. Mission accomplished.

With the news that the school was going to undergo a major renovation in 2018-2019, we felt the time was ripe for yet another capital expansion of our rapidly-growing space. With the fundraising nickname "Make it Bigger", we set out to do exactly that. Three months and $25,000 later, our full-size ShopBot CNC milling machine arrived (and had to be moved off the truck and into the building, much to the chagrin of our well-humored maintenance team).

Which brings us to the present, and our little industrial corner of the world has quickly become an even more beloved home to our area makers than before.

The Idea Center is a registered member of the global Fablab Network

Building and equipping a fully-fledged Fab Lab is no small expense. However, over 80% of the funding invested into the IC has come from the generosity of many amazing organizations and individuals--without whom this idea would never have taken shape.

BHCS Boosters
Laurence Flood Foundation
Maine Community Foundation
The Perloff Family Foundation

Lee Buck
Sean Dooley & Rebecca Conable
Matt Jurick
Karen Stanley

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust
George Stevens Academy
Hammond Lumber
Ira Berry Lodge #128
Maine Space Grant Consortium
Stanley Subaru

Meredith Amado
Lisa Arhontes-Marshall
Daniel Arrasmith
Teresa & Jim Arrasmith
Patricia Baird
Emma Baker
Robert Burke
Adrienne Burt
Joan Bragdon
Jennifer Bryant
April & John Chapman
Daniel Conable
Jessica Conrad
Stu Davis
Peter d'Entremont
Isla Dickerson
Meg Donohue & Chris Nelson
Markus Ford
Katie Forrest
Dawn Freeman
Berna Kaiserian
Tracy Gandy
Julie Greenberg
Don Hartley
Kira Hartley Klinger
Duncan Hamilton
Amy Houghton
Kyle Jurick
Aaron Larrabee
Christa Lenko
Maryanne Lewandowski
Paul & Lyn Mayewski
Kathie Miller
Mary Nold Hartley
Bobby Ann & Larry Packwood
Kristin Parker
Sarah Pebworth
Ann Pladsen
Ben Politte
Mary Politte
Samantha & Mark Politte
Lauren Richardson
John Richardson
Sallee & Tom Robinson
Christy Ross
Michael Rossney
Elise Schellhase
Vanessa Sherwood
Jerin Smith
Jan Snow
David Sorich
Tina Stephens
Mike Woodard

Ellsworth Home Depot

©2020 Idea Center