Local start-ups use middle school basement as office space - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Local start-ups use middle school basement as office space


TROY, N.Y. - One area school district is taking advantage of unused space in its middle school to help start-up businesses grow their companies.

Congressman Paul Tonko was touring Maple Hill Middle School's basement where a few start-up businesses are using the extra space as their office space. Not only is it helping out these local companies, but this is an opportunity for students in the school district to get real world opportunities.

The basement has become an office space for some local start-up businesses like Brent Solina, an RPI graduate who founded MICROrganics Technologies about four years ago in his apartment.

Since the school is giving up the space to grow these types of companies, in return the businesses are providing hands on experience for students at the school district.

"As times get tougher with finances schools are pushed to be more efficient so this is one of the ways... How can we provide professional development for the district and provide internships for students where they don't have to drive anywhere," said Superintendent Bob Horan.

And that's what seniors Adrian Barber and Sarah Plitnick are doing. They've been walking over to the middle school and have been working for MICROrganics, learning about the technology that's designed for industrial waste treatment.

"It kind of brings everything together and lets you know what the real world is like and what it's like to run a business,' said Barber.

The superintendent hopes his school district can be a model for other districts across the state to take advantage of this opportunity.

"It allows them to get their feet on the ground and it allows the school district and start up business to do some grant writing together. It's something different," he said.

He also says they're not opening the door for just any company but one that would fit well for the school's curriculum.

Although this space isn't permanent for the companies, the school hopes the businesses decide to stay local once they're well-established. 

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