The University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering has formed a partnership with the West End School and officials cut the ribbon Dec. 7 to open a new maker space created there.
The goal of the partnership is to encourage lifelong education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at the West End School. The school, located at 3628 Virginia Ave., offers a free, private, college-preparatory education to at-risk elementary and middle school boys.
The Speed School built out and equipped the new maker space, which has a laser cutter, 3-D printer, band saw and other machines. The space is meant to be an innovative learning hub with equipment to design and build solutions to real-world problems.
A gift from Martha and Frank Diebold made the project possible. Frank Diebold earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1973 from Speed School.
As part of the partnership, Speed School also will schedule quarterly engineering educational events at West End School, and Speed School students will provide weekly tutoring sessions there.
In addition, Speed School will offer up to five full-tuition scholarships to West End School graduates who earn their high school diplomas in spring 2018 and beyond.
“The J.B. Speed School of Engineering is thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the West End School,” said Speed School Dean John Usher. “This new maker space will be a great place for WES students to learn about engineering, science and innovation through hands-on projects and activities. It also provides our own engineering students with a chance to mentor young kids and gain experience with outreach and community engagement.”
“This relationship paves the way for our boys to choose the field of engineering and earn scholarships,” said West End School Chairman Paul Perconti. “This has become a reality as a result of the visionary leadership of UofL President James Ramsey, Provost Neville Pinto and Dean John Usher.”