By JAMES BELL
Downtown Hays will soon be home to STEM Harvest, a nonprofit
science, technology, engineering and math learning center.
As construction work continues at its future home in 507 Main
and final preparations for the project are made, a recent $10,000 grant award
from NetWorked for Change will help ensure the project starts off right.
The To Infinity and Beyond award will allow STEM Harvest to open
with a pre- and post-event survey and an event for up to 40 children and a
“The event itself will either be in March or potentially
early April,” said building owner and STEM Harvest founder Dallas Haselhorst. “We
will be presenting at the NetWorked for Change convention in Wichita in May. So we
will have the event obviously, and all the post items wrapped up well before
then, so we can present, essentially, to a lot of other folks across the state
trying to make a difference in their communities as well.”
The STEM Harvest opening event will allow participants to learn about the facility and the services it will provide to the community once fully opened to
“Anywhere from 20 to 40, kids will be able to come in, learn
a little bit more of everything STEM Harvest can do consolidated into a day,”
Haselhorst said. “And so it kind of introduces kids to all of those different
aspects, especially 3D printing, coding, some of the electronics
aspects, and just give them an opportunity to kind of see some of those things
and what we’ll do as part of that grant.”
“We purchased that with a couple of goals in mind. The main
one was going to be a 501(c)3 nonprofit called STEM Harvest that really kind
of brings technology skills and related skills to kids of all ages,” Haselhorst
And now, with the center’s opening, he said area youth would
be able to use it to explore various aspects of STEM.
“All of the kids are going to have to do the three core
tenets, meaning you’re going to have to get introduced to those, which is
coding, the electronics aspect and 3D printing,” Haselhorst said.
But from there, they can build on their own desires and
“They’re really learning the skills, the underlying skills
to do some of the basics, and then just build off of that,” Haselhorst said. “It’s
a project-based approach to learning that gets whatever they’re
passionate about and lets them go.”
In conjunction with the kickoff event, two surveys will solidify
how potential students would utilize the space.
“The pre-survey will be open to the public to try and get some
input from parents, educators, maybe even kids,” Haselhorst said.
The survey can be found at https://stemharvest.org/pre-survey/
“And then also, we’ll do a really quick post-event
survey that will be primarily from the kids that actually attend the event,”
Haselhorst said. “The main thing is that we just want to make sure that they
are getting something out of it, and they’re going to want to come back
And while opening the years-long project to the public is a
priority for the space, remodeling the building for other tenants, including
his own TreeTop Security, is also well underway, and office space in the
building should be ready for occupancy soon.
“The three front spaces probably required the most amount of
work out of everything,” Haselhorst said. “STEM Harvest has been receiving
Much of the major construction work is done.
“There’s a couple of rooms back there that are, other than
paint, they’re done,” Haselhorst said. “There’s still some work to do, no doubt, but we’re
definitely moving in the right direction. And now, with some additional funding
for some supplies and stuff, we can definitely help on some of those aspects.”