Three Lakes increased broadband capacity and a willing community and school will likely put them on the cutting edge of a revolutionary education and economic development effort called a Fab Lab.
The technology exists to build a box,tooth brush or any manufactured item without a large manufacturing facility.
At the urging of Grow North Regional Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Don Sidlowski, Three Lakes Schools are working toward creating the Fab Lab the school. The lab will teach high schoolers interested in a manufacturing career how to work with this new manufacturing concept. Other Fab Lab's exists at state technical colleges, but Three Lakes will be the first K-12 in Wisconsin to have the program.
District Administrator Dr. George Karling says this type of lab is not typically found in high schools....
"....for example, we are talking about a CNC mill for milling work. We're talking about a plasma cutter for cutting metals, we're talking about a 3-D microscribe that goes hand-in-hand with a 3-D printer, we're talking about a laser, engraver, and a vinyl cutter. Those are the main pieces of equipment..."
Karling says schools will be able to fully train students for a high paying career directly out of high school. He says it is possible this lab could be up and running at Three Lakes in August.
UW-Extension Agent Tim Brown says the possibility of a local person making their own products and selling could revolutionize manufacturing...
".....if you are someone living in the Northwoods and you have an idea for some interesting new product or gadget, you don't have to go find a huge manufacturing facility and persuade them to loan you their equipment. You can use the equipment, the printers, to make whatever it is they imagine..."
WXPR will have an hour-long program on the Fab Lab at Three Lakes. We will announce the time later.