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One Building Brings Together Two Seemingly Different Greater Cincinnati Education Organizations

new_building_ispace.jpg
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
The former UAW hall is now the new home to iSpace and an additional indoor space for Gorman Heritage Farm.

iSpace, a STEM non-profit, and Gorman Heritage Farm, a working farm teaching kids about the science of growing and preparing food, have joined forces to create "Soil and Stars." The partnership enabled the two organizations to buy a building that, separately, they might not have been unable to purchase.

iSpace was homeless in 2020 after it had to give up space it was leasing from Great Oaks. The school was growing and needed to reclaim it. Then when iSpace was about to move into another space, COVID hit and the cancellation of its camps drastically dropped the organization's income.

So it contacted various municipalities for another place. The Village of Evendale, knowing Gorman Heritage Farm (just up the hill from the new building) was also looking for indoor space, suggested the two look at the vacant UAW building.

The organizations closed on the their new space in May. Together they see more similarities than differences in their mission of educating kids.

"So our programming is also science-based but it's much more of natural sciences and we support Ohio state learning standards for natural science and social studies but we aren't doing robotics, we're doing soil studies," says Nicole Gunderman, deputy director of Gorman.

Gorman is excited the farm now has an industrial kitchen in the new building to better teach food science.

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Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
From left Gorman's Nicole Gunderman and iSpace's Sue Hare plan out space in the building. This is the biggest room.

Gunderman and iSpace Executive Director Sue Hare walk into the building's big banquet hall. Hare has it all worked out in her mind. "This section here will be what we call our iMission suite. It's a space station simulation," she says.

iSpace is already running its programs out of the Soil and Stars building and Hare is looking forward to the participants in its camps to build more relationships.

The robotics competition and camps have been going on for decades in Greater Cincinnati.

"One of our alumni said they 'found their people here,' " says Hare. "I thought that was a funny but appropriate way to put it."