Help me find cheap workspace for school club in Seattle
April 8, 2015 7:44 AM   Subscribe

How do I find a cheap workspace and/or storage space for a school club?

I am a member/volunteer of a high school robotics club and we are in need of workspace and/or storage. The team currently meets in the school auto-shop but we will be loosing our space.

Most immediately we are in need of storage for summer, but if we could find a new workspace that would also solve the immediate problem and we wouldn’t necessarily need separate storage.

Workspace Requirements:
1. We need less than 1000 sqft. We currently have about 600-800.

2. Cheap. We are on a very limited budget. All of our money comes from donations. Please tell me what is realistic, but lets say less than $300-400 per month.

3. Somewhat industrial. We need enough space and electricity to handle power tools. We need to be able to make some noise and some amount of mess.

4. Relatively secure. We have a lot of tools, computers, electronics, and other bits.

5. Location - We are in Seattle. The space would preferably be north of downtown and south of N 175th St. Accessible by public transit would be nice.

Storage Space Requirements:
1. Size, we probably need something in the range of 5x5 or 5x10.

2. Cheaper than self-storage prices which are about $50-75 per month.

In finding a workspace the difficulty I am having is that warehouses and other commercial spaces are either too large or too expensive. We have considered creating a shared workspace with other area teams, but this isn’t something we are even remotely close to organizing or implementing. Existing shared workspaces that I have found are not really meant for a group of our size, but more for individuals.

For temporary storage I am wondering if maybe there is a church or community organization that would let us use a small space for cheap? I am open to suggestions for finding space and am reluctant to just cold call organizations, but maybe that is the best way to find what I am looking for.

We are currently organized through a school so donations and in-kind giving can be tax deductible.

Does what I want exist? How do I find something suitable? Would a commercial real-estate agent be able to help me or would I be wasting their time?
posted by Shanda to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used to work at the Museum of Flight in South Seattle, which runs educational programs (even ones about robotics!) and has the kind of space you're describing. Here's a page to contact them. They also have a page about donation requests.

Otherwise, I'd try universities or community colleges - summer is a down time so they may be able to find you some space for cheap. I went to SPU, and their art studio would fit your parameters, I believe. You might try contacting them if MOF doesn't work out.
posted by guster4lovers at 7:59 AM on April 8, 2015

Could you maybe start a collaboration with your local hacker- or makerspace? Robotics sounds right up their alley.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:01 AM on April 8, 2015

Is this a school only program or are other school aged kids from the community (other local schools, home schooled kids, girl/boy scout troops etc) able to join? If you make it county wide, you could increase your membership and maybe use other space at other schools/community locations.

Do you have outside mentors at local engineering/STEM businesses? They might have space/resources for you.

Good luck!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 8:03 AM on April 8, 2015

Have you tried community recreation centers, the YMCA or Boys & Girls clubs?
posted by easily confused at 8:07 AM on April 8, 2015

I would suggest joining the facebook group "Buy Nothing - NE Seattle" to solve your summer storage problem. (There's also a Greenlake group and a Ballard one if those areas are more applicable.) In the group, people are allowed to give things away or ask for things/services they need. Everything has to be free - no bartering or selling allowed. I am a member, and people in the group are awesome - if you posted on there that you need a garage to store things over the summer for your school club, I'd be willing to bet that somebody would help. People would also likely have leads on cheap places that could work for your club during the school year. Good luck!
posted by leitmotif at 9:13 AM on April 8, 2015

Echoing lucy.jakobs - you might try asking local engineering/STEM businesses. I work at a machine shop/engineering firm in the Chicago suburbs and my boss would probably let you have some space for free, for something like this, if you asked him.
posted by sarajane at 10:02 AM on April 8, 2015

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