At the meeting this week we went over the possibilities of the space, yet again. The lovely Bannatyne location is out of the question for now, as there were minor refinishing and electrical issues. The space will be under renovation for the next six months, and there will be no access until the repairs are complete.
As a result, we spent the meeting going over the details of the other candidate space, located off of Erin. It was reasonably close to downtown, being 3.8km from Portage and Main. The space still provides reasonable bus access, and has plenty of parking options. The building is two stories with multiple office areas, and more importantly has a large warehouse area.
The warehouse area would allow skullspace to share a building with protolab, the sister space that will cover more hands-on, industrial type activities. The Erin location allows both spaces to operate in a single building, and gives the groups the ability to stay together as a community. Though it would be awesome to be able to do woodworking, metalwork, electronics and coding all in the same building, the cost is prohibitive at the moment.
With the current membership number hovering around 30, we were worried that the cost of investing would be too high and the fees may prevent new people from joining. Fortunately, there is no huge rush as protolab isn’t supposed to take off until September. This gives a few months time, and we thought the best idea would be to rent a space downtown.
We established a Rent Space Strike Force (RSSF), the members of which will scour the downtown area looking for properties to rent on a month-to-month basis. This would allow us to keep membership fees reasonable and have a space downtown at the same time. There are issues that come up with the renting idea. Access to the space on a 24/7 basis for all members could be an issue, and any sort of larger building modification would be almost entirely out of the question.
However, we feel the benefits of renting outweigh the (possible) costs. If we were to establish a space downtown, even for a few months, we may be able to interest more people. There would be a physical place to visit and drop by to learn more about the space and participate in projects, as well as a single location for meetings and hackathons. Renting on a monthly basis would also allow us to do what amounts to a trial run of the space, to see if we can keep enough people interested and raise enough money to move into a permanent location.
Your thoughts on this matter are welcome, feel free to leave comments here or send off an email to the discussion list at firstname.lastname@example.org