Western Avenue

Move out! August Building Updates from Lowell Makes

Hello there! We hope everyone has had a safe summer full of making.

First, we want to make sure everyone knows that we are OPEN! During COVID-19, we closed down our makerspace for several weeks (except for members working on our PPE efforts). As Massachusetts began offering reopening guidance, we gradually allowed members back into the building at limited capacity by using a sign-up system. As phases progressed, we increased capacity until reopening completely about a month ago. Our members have been very vigilant about social distancing in the space, wearing masks at all time, and cleaning all the tools they use. Thank you to all of our members for your compliance and for caring for one another.

We have not resumed open houses, but we are signing up new members on an individual basis. If your membership has lapsed or you have been thinking about joining, this is a great time to get involved! E-mail [email protected] to set up a one-on-one tour or reactivate your membership.

Second, we’ve been hard at work on a few fronts to move Lowell Makes to our new building. Tasks have included

  • Pulling cable for access control and high-speed WiFi – As we move our facility, we are also upgrading our member management and access control systems. The new tools will provide a better member experience and give us better insights and control over our systems. We worked with a local locksmith to hook up all the wiring to new strikes and doors.
  • Selecting a contractor – We are soliciting bids from three local contractors using plans drawn by our architect. We’ve spent a lot of time making sure that all our shops have what they need and building in modular design elements that will allow our layout to evolve over time.
  • Cleaning, painting, and emptying rooms – Our upstairs space was previously used as a business office. We inherited a lot of useful cubicle furniture that all had to be broken down and stored. Our members spent several weekends moving furniture and painting our classroom and hallways.
  • Getting rid of shelves in our downstairs area – The previous tenants also left us bunch of large metal shelves. We kept about 18 of these to use for storage and rental, and sold the rest (every dollar counts!). The downstairs is so much brighter with the shelves out, and now we have room to start construction.
  • Writing grants! Our build-out will be completed in phases, so we’re already looking ahead to things we want to add in phase two like a triple slop sink for our downstairs “dirty” shops, a more welcoming and accessible front entrance, and a new paint room. Please continue to support Lowell Makes through our GoFundMe.

August Asks:

  • Donations of packing and moving supplies (and member volunteers!)
  • Donations to keep our build-out funding on track – We are currently maintaining two buildings and funds are tight. Donate to our GoFundMe here:
  • In-kind donations – we would love to publicly thank your business on our Sponsors page. We will need things like outdoor signage, dumpster and cleaning services, and new classroom furniture. E-mail [email protected] if you’d like to partner with Lowell Makes!
  • Join Lowell Makes! Membership is our primary source of revenue and it dropped about 25% at the height of COVID-19. If you let your membership lapse, or you’ve been meaning to join, this is a great time!

What’s next?

  • Pack and move about half our shops to the upstairs at Western Avenue; shops included in the move will be most of our upstairs shops (kitchen/coffee, Fermentation, Photography, Electronics, 3D Printing) and Crafts/Fabric.
  • Select a contractor and begin build-out downstairs at Western Avenue

Enjoy these photos of the transformation happening at Western Avenue, thanks to our member volunteers!