NESIT Hackerspace has doubled in size

Contact Information: NESIT Inc.
Address: 290 Pratt ST, Meriden CT 06450
Contact Name: William Reyor
Phone: (203) 514-2257
E-mail: [email protected]
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NESIT Hackerspace has doubled in size

NESIT Inc., a § 501(c)(3) charitable organization that serves as an educational and innovative hub to the residents of central Connecticut, will officially relocate to its new space on August 3, 2013.

NESIT’s new 4,000-square-foot-facility includes some important new features:

  • A massive data center. 454 Life Sciences, a Roche Company, has donated a 75-node cluster of servers and IT equipment to NESIT. In collaboration with 454, NESIT has transformed these resources into Connecticut’s first community data center: a large pool of servers where non-profits, schools, and individuals with an interest in science and technology can host projects and perform research. These servers allow us to facilitate projects that use databases to collect and analyze sensor data for various uses: research, school projects, or simply hosting websites for the local community. We’re excited to have the knowledge and the capacity to offer this service.
  • A large wood and metal working shop. The owners of 290 Pratt St. have generously provided NESIT with a larger space that contains woodworking equipment left behind by previous tenants, including drills, saws, and everything else you need to work with wood or metal.
  • A formal class room suitable to seat at least 15 people. Our previous space was a little too cozy to accommodate large meetings or classes, but now we’ve got room for everyone to participate. From online marketing and SEO to soap-making workshops, NESIT hosts classes on a broad range of topics that can benefit members of the community.
  • A dedicated arts and crafts workspace. Here, NESIT’s members and guests can paint, weave, thread, stick, sew, design and model anything they can imagine.
  • A collaboration area. Our collaboration area is designed to inspire creativity in supportive surroundings: a library of books, whiteboards, plenty of supplies (of course), and a kitchen. Here, people can connect and join together in their creative thinking.
  • A 3-D printing, electronics, and robotics lab. This is one of the biggest and best open community labs for electronics in Connecticut. Our lab features numerous 3-D printers and everything you need to build an electronic circuit or robot.

The story behind our expansion

After our previous facility suffered some damage, we were approached by Paul Arnold of 454 Life Sciences in Branford, CT. Paul owned equipment that he thought would make a huge difference if it were placed in the right hands, so he came to us. The NESIT team explored the possibility of simply hosting the servers in NESIT’s current facilities, before realizing that this was a huge opportunity to expand not just the IT (information technology) work we do, but all of our services. With a rapid expansion in mind, the NESIT team proposed the idea of the community data center to Paul and his team, and to NESIT’s stakeholders. We soon found an outpouring of support. Everyone wanted to be involved. Many people made significant donations, and it turned out that the expansion was a no-brainer.

Soon, we organized weekly public NESIT 2.0 design meetings and invited anyone and everyone. We wanted to hear from the community, and we did. Every week, we’d fill our little space with dozens of people who wanted to participate. The entire design was fiercely debated, documented, and picked apart. We chose only the best ideas for the new space, because we wanted NESIT to offer something really special to Meriden and to the central Connecticut region.

We collectively envisioned NESIT as not merely an IT hangout, but a place where community members could learn, design, and build, while connecting with each other. The world of hacking has traditionally been portrayed as a stronghold of mystery and exclusivity, where only experts are welcome. That’s not the case at NESIT. Here, everyone is welcome to stop by, visit, and utilize our community resources to develop their potential and learn by participating in hands-on, collaborative projects.


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