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If you have ever been way down south to Miami Beach, Florida you know that it is as beautiful as it is wild. It’s definitely a place with a party atmosphere, as tourists flock to South Beach’s pristine white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue water as readily as they line up to hopefully get into one of the many nightclubs after sunset. Well, amidst this atmosphere are people who actually go to college. Florida International University is the fourth largest universityfiu in the US, and its College of Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) is planning for its grand opening of the US’ first MakerBot Innovation Center in a college focused on arts and design. This is great news for 3D printing in higher education, as FIU takes on a grand 3D printing project where the intersection of technology and art will be explored by students, faculty, and local entrepreneurs.

The grand opening for the Lab will be on September 29, 2015 at Miami Beach Urban Studios, which provides “expansive space for design and fine arts students, practice, and performance spaces for music and theatre students” and “gallery/exhibition spaces and classroom space for use by the entire College.”

The University President, Mark Rosenberg, and MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom plan to be in attendance for the opening. Brian Schriner, Dean of FIU’s CARTA, expressed his enthusiasm for the Lab:

“The College of Architecture + The Arts is the first arts college in the nation to work with MakerBot to embrace 3D printing at a large scale. This new creative space will prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow by exploring the intersection of arts, design, and technology. The CARTA Innovation Lab is a major milestone that will help establish FIU as a national destination for innovative teaching, research, entrepreneurism, and creativity.”

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This Lab is supported by South Florida’s Knight Foundation, which invests in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs. And is the Lab ever loaded with goodies! The Lab includes a MakerBot Innovation Center, 30 MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, 1 MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer, 1 MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer, 5 MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanners, a comprehensive MakerBot MakerCare protection plan, and a large supply of MakerBot PLA Filament–of course. At the heart of the MakerBot Innovation Center is The Management Platform; this is a proprietary 3D printing software platform linking 3D Printers together, streamlining the center’s staffing and productivity, and providing print queuing and remote access. Most exciting of all is that the platform facilitates mass production of 3D prints. Just imagine how all of this can be used by arts and design students!

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The CARTA Innovation Lab is of course designed to encourage use by campus and community members. It has an open layout that reflects the Lab’s vision of collaboration across various disciplines while bringing local entrepreneurs and artists to the Lab to conduct research, work on creative projects, and develop new products. The Lab will also support start-up programs for recent graduates, for-credit FIU classes, and it even plans to get the local high school population involved by offering dual-enrollment programs.

MakerBot CEO Jonathan Jaglom has this to say about this cutting edge new partnership between FIU and MakerBot:

“Desktop 3D printing is changing the way we think, work, and create things, and FIU is taking the lead in unlocking the creative potential of this transformative technology to art students. By bringing in a large-scale 3D printing center and providing access to 3D printers to students at an early stage, FIU can create an atmosphere of collaboration and accelerate the creative process like never before.”

If you are in the area on September 29, 2015 and can attend the 10:00 grand opening of the CARTA Innovation Lab at the Miami Beach Urban Studios you can hear more from MakerBot’s Jaglom, and FIU President Rosenberg, and take a tour of this amazing project–before the Lab gets too crowded!  Let us know if you’ve attended the grand opening in the FIU MakerBot Innovation Lab forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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