Works In the Shop

03/18/16 Edition


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2015 Award

Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin Schools, Libraries and Communities

Three Lakes School District was among seven districts statewide that received the 2015 Standing Up for Rural Wisconsin Schools, Libraries and Communities Award during a program and reception Wednesday, Nov. 11, in Stevens Point. Presented each year to nominated projects that “demonstrate the great potential and collaborative spirit of rural Wisconsin,” this year’s recipients join 88 exemplary programs recognized since 2005.

Left to Right, Dr. Bob Meyer, UW-Stout Chancellor, then me, then Dr. Karling, Three Lakes Superintendent, then Dr. Tony Evers, State Superintendent.


The Three Lakes School Fab Lab — the first digital fab lab facility in the Wisconsin K-12 system — was recognized at the awards program. “The individuals and organizations that are recognize for Rural Awards are the spirit of rural Wisconsin,” said State Superintendent Dr. Tony Evers. He noted that more than 40% of Wisconsin’s 870,000 public school students attend school in small towns and rural communities. “Our

Rural Award recipients are what makes our state so special.” Nominated by education and library professionals, the 2015 award-winning programs were recognized during the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance conference Nov. 11-12.

The Three Lakes School Fab Lab provides 3-D modeling and 3-D printing technology, as well as training, to the citizens and youth of northern Wisconsin. The nominator said the following about the Three Lakes Fab Lab: “The district is located in an economically distressed, rural area of Wisconsin, so this project provides tremendous opportunities for both students and the community.

Both students and citizens can design and make new products that develop business startups and expand job growth.” The Fab Lab is chartered by MIT.

While housed in the Three Lakes School, the lab has partnerships with UW-Stout, Edward U. Demmer Memorial Library in Three Lakes, the Three Lakes Town Board and Planning Commission and the Three Lakes Model Railroad Club. Each group uses the Fab Lab in a different way.

Railroad club members make buildings and rolling stock unique to individual modelers. The Demmer Library reading program rewards children who read a certain number of books with a 3-D scan and print of their head or an object of their choosing. The planning commission works with the lab to promote the community as a destination for new and expanding businesses, which will help with local and regional economic development, as well as community and school district sustainability. A number of business partners meet quarterly and work with the school to identify skills desired in their next generation of employees.

In order to remain a cutting edge school, the lab partners with UW-Stout to develop curriculum, work as a feeder school, provide a site for student teachers in digital fabrication and offer dual-enrollment to Three Lakes students.

The Three Lakes Fab Lab was nominated by Dr. Bob Meyer, Chancellor of UW-Stout.


Visit the Fab Lab site at:

Many thanks to Steven Yahr, director of the Fab Lab, and the students who have assisted us with projects at the Three Lakes School District.



Updated 11/18/115
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