MakerspaceCT hones in on potential home

BY Matt Pilon

HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
Bryan Patton and Devra Sisitsky said they are close to finding a home for their fledgling MakerspaceCT.
The founders of a fledgling makerspace organization said they are close to announcing a new Hartford home on Main Street.

Just over a year ago, husband and wife team Bryan Patton and Devra Sisitsky were trying to lease about 15,000 square feet in the Colt Armory complex, where they planned to invest $750,000 to design a space for tinkerers, students and professionals to work and learn about welding, ceramics, glass blowing, programming and an array of other skills.

"We couldn't come to terms," Patton said.

The pair now has their eyes set on a larger space on Main Street, upwards of 25,000 square feet, with a similarly priced build-out planned, Patton said.

At press time, they said they were working to finalize a lease for the space, which they didn't want to identify until the deal was complete.

Between the planned build-out and the need for certain infrastructure — like ventilation for welding equipment and a metal forge — finding a home has been complicated.

"Fire and flame is certainly an issue in any building," Patton said.

MakerspaceCT, a program of a relatively new not-for-profit called McEIVR Inc., said it has financial backing from the Rutledge Foundation and is also hoping to receive $45,000 through the state's Innovation Places program.

MakerspaceCT is part of the Hartford-East Hartford group that submitted one of the winning applications for the $30 million program.

The organization will host its second annual Maker Summit Nov. 17 at the University of Hartford's Gengras Center in West Hartford.

There will be demos and displays from manufacturers and technology firms, keynotes from Bryan Dods, who heads additive manufacturing at the United Technologies Research Center, and Popular Mechanics Editor in Chief Ryan D'Agostino, plus a political debate.

Tickets cost $45 and can be found at here.

Editor's note: The original version of this story said the MakerspaceCT event would include a debate between seven gubernatorial hopefuls. Over the weekend, after press time, that debate was canceled, organizers said.