In November 2017, KidSenses, Inc. purchased an 8,400 square-foot historical building, dating back nearly a hundred years ago, to house The Factory, a facility designed to engage youth ages 11 into their teens for next level STEM-related learning. The Factory building is located adjacent to KidSenses’ popular Discovery Garden. Themed around the international “Maker Movement,” the concept gives participants a place to meet, nurture curiosity and foster an entrepreneurial mindset. The building’s existing structure was evaluated by the team at Odom Engineering for civil and structural development of converting the old hardware store, which previously occupied the building, to The Factory future home.
The key design plans Odom developed for the new facility centered on the foundation and framing of the building, plus a new sidewalk, street curb and drainage system. The design logistics included reinforcement of the existing structure, openings for masonry load-bearing walls and framing, and foundation blueprints for a future addition to the building, making it a state-of-the-art learning center. Slated to open in mid-2021, KidSenses will expand from its current 10,000-square-foot museum to a 27,000-square-foot campus. The expansion will allow the museum to double its yearly visitors to over 60,000, and position both KidSenses and The Factory as a dynamic destination experience for Rutherford County and Western North Carolina.
- A “Tech Lab”, which will be equipped with computers, 3-D printers, laser cutters and other cutting-edge technology.
- The “Make It Place” workshop complete with hands-on conventional tools, both power and manual.
- A “Food Studio” including a fully functioning kitchen for culinary innovation.
- An “Idea Zone” for collaboration and team building
Executive Director Willard Whitson says, “The Factory project requires partners who are respectful of the past, while embracing the technologies of skills for the future. Odom Engineering has proven to be the ideal partner.” Whitson continues, “Their experience and understanding of the issues associated with re-engineering a century-old structure, coupled with their sensitivity and knowledge of future use, is making this a dream project – one which will set a standard for our community.”
Providing an extraordinary resource for the community and the region, the three-year, $1.4-million capital campaign garnered contributions from city and state governments, RHI Legacy Foundation, Stonecutter Foundation, as well the donor community through KidSenses’ annual fundraising gala. Facebook gave a significant donation for The Factory’s digital infrastructure.
Learn more about The Factory Project