The Messer Construction Co. Foundation presented a $25,000 grant on Sept. 17 to Newton’s Attic, a Lexington organization that provides area students, parents and teachers with unique educational experiences by offering STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) resources. Newton’s Attic plans to use the funding to renovate the interior space of its instructional building. Renovations are set to begin in the coming weeks and are scheduled for completion in early 2015.

“At Messer, we’re committed to building better lives for our customers, communities and employees,” said Messer Vice President and Lexington region leader Bob Williams, “so we’re pleased to present this grant to Newton’s Attic to help enhance its resources and expand young students’ exposure to STEM fields in Central Kentucky. The team at Newton’s Attic does tremendous work with young people here in Lexington, so we hope this grant can help to extend their impact.”

Bill Cloyd, president and founder of Newton’s Attic, said the grant will help expand the facility’s capacity.

“Newton’s Attic is thrilled with the generous donation from the Messer Construction Co. Foundation,” Cloyd said. “The timing is perfect in that we are fast approaching the limits of our current facility in terms of the number of students we can serve. We are very much in need of additional and higher quality learning spaces to provide the types of science and engineering education that our students need.”

Cloyd, an engineer by trade, founded Newton’s Attic in 1998 with the purpose of stimulating local interest in STEM fields. The non-profit promotes STEM courses and career fields in physics and engineering via an engaging, hands-on learning atmosphere in its classes and summer camps. A library of programs at the school allows students to engage in hands-on design, fabrication and field-testing of their own mechanical devices in highly energized and competitive environments.

The facility’s renovations will increase the quantity and quality of Newton’s Attic’s classroom and work space. Total classroom and work space will increase from 1,500 square feet currently to 3,700 square feet of higher-quality space. The open warehouse will be climatized and made into a multi-purpose area that can be partitioned into smaller learning areas or converted into open space to house large projects or events as needed.

The grant was sponsored on Messer’s end by Project Engineer Diana Hagan, a building renovation board member for Newton’s Attic who will also help lead the facility’s renovation project. Hagan first became involved with Newton’s Attic in 2013 through the Block Kids Building Program, a LEGO building competition put on by the National Association of Women in Construction.

“The skills and knowledge young people take away from their time at Newton’s Attic are invaluable,” Hagan said. “Newton’s Attic’s hands-on engineering education combines engineering theory with problem solving, real-world application and tool-use in unique ways that are well matched with the needs of the construction and manufacturing industries.”

In 2013, Newton’s Attic served approximately 800 children at its facility and worked with many hundreds more off site at area schools, libraries and community centers. The summer program alone grew from 181 participants in 2012 – the organization’s first year in its current facility – to more than 500 in 2014.

“The improvements made possible with this grant will not only give us the ability to improve the student experience for our existing programs but will allow us to add exciting new programs to our repertoire,” Cloyd added. “We are excited about the possibilities of what this allows us to do and how it will benefit the families in the community. We are extremely grateful."

About Newton’s Attic

Newton's Attic, a nonprofit founded in 1998 by Bill Cloyd, is dedicated to providing students with highly unusual educational experiences and providing STEM (Science Technology, Engineering Mathematics) educational resources to parents, students and teachers. Our mission is to stimulate interest in science and engineering through exciting hands-on projects, classes and summer camps.

This fall at Newton’s Attic

Spots are still available for Newton’s Attic’s Fall and Fall Break sessions. The Fall session is an after-school program which runs from Sept. 24 to Oct. 30. During schools’ fall breaks, Newton’s Attic will offer both half-day and full-day programs. Visit www.newtonsattic.com for more information or to register.

Newton’s Attic will again be out in force at the Louisville Mini Maker Faire on Market Street in downtown Louisville on Sat., Sept. 27th. Attendees can ride The Device, shoot The Pod and maybe even the Ballista. Visit http://makerfairelou.org/ for more details.

Additionally, the school was again selected to participate in the GoodGiving Challenge, an fund drive put on by the Bluegrass Community Foundation that encourages donating to local non-profits. Last year, Newton’s Attic raised $18,000, far exceeding its goal of $5,000.

More coverage:

Photo Gallery (via Kentucky.com)

Messer Construction Co. gives $25,000 grant to Newton's Attic (via The Lane Report)