ANDERSON — Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith was one of 20 mayors from across the nation to take part in an announcement Wednesday by President Barack Obama to encourage high-tech innovation and manufacturing.
Anderson is the only Indiana city that has joined with 90 other communities as part of the Manufacturing Alliance of Communities.
The city is highlighted in the Maker Mayors Action Report included on the White House website for the first Maker Faire.
Anderson is working with Purdue University’s College of Technology at Anderson and the Flagship Enterprise Center to construct a new building that will house advanced technology education and high-tech maker tools.
The Purdue Polytechnic Institute, for as many as 500 students and hundreds of entrepreneurs, is looking at an existing building site in Anderson.
Officials intend to demolish the existing building and construct a new facility.
“The focus is on using the facility to foster an increased interest in the manufacturing industry,” Smith said. “Simply put, this project's purpose is to raise a generation who wants to make things and have the skills to be the Makers.”
The centerpiece of the Polytechnic Institute project will be a Maker Space where students, teachers and entrepreneurs come together to produce and test prototypes and refine new designs.
Surrounding and integrated into the maker space will be a variety of tools ranging from specialized learning labs and incubator spaces; to a light industrial space where students can work for local established and developing businesses.
“We have had multiple discussions with local manufacturers in the area who want to take advantage of these new technologies and services,” Corey Sharp, director of the Purdue College of Technology in Anderson, said. “Innovation is critical to growing our manufacturing base. Many of them want to engage our students in this process.”
Jon Adams, plant manager for GTI, said workforce preparation and sustainability is the limiting factor in the company’s ability to expand in Anderson.