Maker Lab already providing bits of local history

TROY – Although only some of the equipment that will bring a Maker Lab to life has arrived, the learning has already begun with uncovering of a little local history at the lab’s future home in the Hobart Center for County Government.

The Troy Miami County Public Library is in the midst of converting second-floor space being leased from the Miami County commissioners long term for the new Maker Lab home.

The Maker Lab is being modeled after a maker space, Spark Place, at the Xenia Community Library and will include equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutter, learning lab and a business center.

Members of the community will be able to use the space if they have a library card. They will pay the cost of any materials used in their projects.

A learning lab also is planned with around 15 computers offering specialized software and printers along with a business center with copier, scanner, fax and other business tools. The space also includes meeting rooms and a sound room for podcasts and related activities.

The Maker Lab space is located just west of the library’s main location along West Main Street in Troy. J.L. Kuck was hired to convert the Hobart building space while the library this fall hired Elijah Stephens as the Maker Lab manager. He is a former middle school science teacher.

The Hobart Government Center is located in the former home of Hobart Brothers Co. It was built in 1941 as the company headquarters with some influence in design from a Frank Lloyd Wright building including an emphasis on daylight in the building, said Rachelle Via, library executive director.

“It was kind of a technological marvel, and now we are trying to bring some tech equity to the community with some of the machines we are going to have. The Hobarts, I think, would appreciate our ingenuity with what (resources) we can spend,” she said.

As remodeling got under way, workers uncovered the large pillars found in several of the Hobart buildings including its manufacturing plant that was located to the west of the office building across Adams Street. That building was removed with the land now home to Kettering Hospital.

The work also uncovered walls of glass block, also reminiscent of some Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, Via said, and a now built over courtyard. The block was in keeping with the Hobarts’ interest in having natural light in every office.

Some of the block will remain in the Maker Lab area while other pieces were removed and will be cleaned and reused in some manner, Stephens said.

Hopes are that the Maker Lab will be open in spring 2023. In the meantime, the library will be hiring lab staff, who will receive three months of training from Stephens. Staff will be available to work with lab users of all ages. Some may be familiar with equipment and make what they want with little assistance while others may need a lot of assistance from staff, which will be OK.

“A lot of things will start with a conversation. People might say, ‘I have an idea, how do I do this?’ Elijah and his staff would say, ‘We suggest you use this machine and this is how you do it,” Via said.

More information on the Maker Lab can be found on the library’s website at

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