FARMINGTON — The ideas keep growing on what the incubator space at the Mt. Blue Campus can be used for.

High school teachers and students have done a variety of projects in the large space in the E-wing near the metal fabrication and composites work spaces, and the physics and business/technology classrooms.

The space was used during the building and renovation project as two art classrooms, Glenn Kapiloff, director of the Foster Career and Technology Education Center, said Monday. The Mt. Blue Campus houses the vocational program and Mt. Blue High School. There also is a second floor that is used for storage.

The space was built so people with business ideas could nurture plans and eventually employ area students, Kapiloff said.

It is technically a commercial space in the confines of the school campus, he said.

On Feb. 25, the RSU 9 Board of Directors approved the concept of the incubator space, also known as the Incubator Lab, and the parameters for how it can be used.

“Collaboration is really the name of the game for community, students and businesses,” Kapiloff said.

The space will be available, within defined limits, during school, after school and on weekends. RSU 9 students have priority for the space.

One example of use is by the CommUnity Works, an emerging collaborative made up of representatives of several organizations, including RSU 9, the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, University of Maine at Farmington, Franklin County adult basic education and community college.

CommUnity Works moved Community Energy Challenge workshop materials used to build interior storm window panels to store them into the space. The group plans to hold workshops to build window panels from May 15 to Sept. 15 for four community buildings. Another idea is to hold a bike tuneup workshop and bike swap May 10.

Another possible use would be to teach people how to convert oil burners into natural gas burners and install the natural gas burners.

Other possibilities, but only in the initial discussion stages, involve working with a southern Maine university, an organization and the Foster Center on a brace for infants in developing countries, and working with a company and university to develop a line of products from reclaimed rope.

It is an adaptable space that can be used by more than one group, Kapiloff said.

It is wired for 220-volt electrictiry and has some tools in it that could safely be used by beginners. A couple of computers will also be added to the space. There is also a large overhead garage door.

High school science teacher Jake Bogar said his engineering design classes used the space this past semester to have the Northeast Archaeological Research Center fly its quad-copter video drone used to survey projects.

Bogar said he hopes to encourage the use and maintenance of bikes, as well as understanding the physics of bikes.  He said he supports the May 10 bike tuneup and swap.

“We have utilized the space quite a deal with our students,” Travis Tierney, a language arts teacher, said. “We are huge supporters of project-based learning and passion-based learning. Our freshmen first used the space as an area to take part in Caine’s Global Cardboard Challenge.”

Students recently did a unit in humanities class on the “Declaration of Human Rights” and human rights around the world. They researched abuses of human rights, he said. After researching street art and politically motivated art, they created an art piece based on one of the universal human rights, he said. They used the space to create interactive sculptures, draw, paint and carve, and their pieces were displayed on campus, Tierney said.

“It’s a unique and important space that allows a different way to learn and approach learning. The space has the room, and some tools, so that students can create and make regardless of what discipline they are studying,” he said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.