Carrie Rengers

MakeICT is making an almost 22,000-square-foot former school its new permanent home

For the third time since its 2012 inception, MakeICT is getting a new home, and it should be a longtime one.

That’s because the nonprofit has purchased the former Booth Elementary School at 5920 E. Mount Vernon St., and at almost 22,000 square feet it is more than double the group’s current leased space at 1500 E. Douglas.

“It’s a huge difference,” says president David Springs.

He says it’s been great being in the Douglas Design District, but “we’re just running out of space.”

Also, the existing building, where members have to walk through one room to get to another, isn’t especially well suited for the group.

“We are a place where people who like to make things can do that,” Springs says.

MakeICT’s first space was a couple of rooms within the former Bluebird Arthouse in Delano.

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With the help of a $100,000 grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation, MakeICT was able to expand and now offers all kinds of work stations, including an electronics lab, woodworking and welding areas along with equipment such as 3D printers and laser cutters.

“We have all kinds of really cool stuff,” Springs says.

“It’s really stuff that people would do in their own garage if they could afford it.”

MakeICT has grown to almost 425 members.

Memberships are $25 a month, and the space is available 24 hours a day.

Springs says the new building still has to go through a zoning process, though he says since it’s zoned for a school “we probably could have slid in under that.”

“We are an education institution.”

In fact, the full name of the group is MakeICT Institute, though it’s known simply as MakeICT.

There are a range of classes available.

Springs says neighbors of the new building, which Hope International Fellowship previously owned, have been welcoming.

“They’re really thrilled that we’re keeping the place nice.”

There are no paid staff members of MakeICT.

Volunteers plan a community garden and an outdoor walking track at the new space.

“We want to blend into the neighborhood,” Springs says.

MakeICT likely will move in the first quarter of the year.

Springs says he thinks moving to the area will help membership.

“We’ll probably add a lot of members just from the neighborhood.”