The former premises of Yellowknife bar After 8 will become a “public workshop and innovation hub” for the group Makerspace YK, which aims to build people’s skills.
The group’s board said it chose the ground floor of the building at 5001 Forrest Drive, opposite the CBC, as it is centrally located, accessible, and easily reached using public transit.
The finished space, which is being renovated over the coming months, will help to build local skills and entrepreneurship, the organization said. Residents can expect to find woodworking and metalworking facilities alongside equipment like 3D printers and sewing machines.
Acquisition of a permanent home follows the November announcement that Makerspace YK will, over three years, receive $730,000 from the federal government and $154,000 from the GNWT.
That money is being used in part to create the new collaborative space, establish an industrial equipment and tool-lending library, and create two full-time jobs.
Robert Warburton, owner of the Cloudworks Two building in question, said the space would “meet the unique needs of this organization now but be adaptable into the future.”
The group could, for example, expand its space within Cloudworks Two if it wins up to $100,000 in the youth category of this year’s Arctic Inspiration Prize. Recipients are to be announced on February 19.
In announcing its new home on Sunday, Makerspace YK also revealed Julian Morse will fill one of the two anticipated positions by becoming its first executive director.
“I am incredibly excited about this new opportunity to work with the Makerspace YK board to bring their vision to life,” said Morse, a two-term city councillor with a regulatory background.
“I think this will be huge for Yellowknife. I was thrilled to hear about what Makerspace YK is planning to do, so it is a dream come true to get to be at the centre of it.”
Cat McGurk, Makerspace YK’s president, said Morse was “truly committed to bettering this city” and “brings a great deal of skill and determination to the organization.”
The Tool Bus – a converted school bus – will still be used by the group to deliver mobile programming.
After 8, a pub known for billiards and karaoke, closed in 2020 after 25 years in business.