COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho –Downtown Coeur d’Alene’s Elk Building was vacant until last year when new owners decided to bring it back to life. The building’s new owner, Nick Smoot, told KREM 2 he wanted to turn the 100-year-old building into a space for tech companies to create the future.
The building is now called ‘The Innovation Den’ and it serves as a hub for bringing robots to life. The Innovation Den has 52 offices, six large suites, a barbershop, a lair for members, and a coffee shop, “We have the occasional moments where we sit back and it seems surreal because it is fully occupied. There are college students here, there are brand new companies, there’s investments happening,” Smoot said.
People are not the only ones you will find at the technology hub. Smoot says they have counted roughly 100 robots and the newest ones just moved in. The new robots will make their public debut Tuesday at the University of Idaho’s open house.
The lower level of the Innovation Den is home to the University of Idaho’s Department of Computer Science. At next week’s open house, the public will get the opportunity to meet ‘Baxter.’ Computer science students worked to make final adjustments so Baxter can make a cup of coffee, “I’ve been waiting all semester for that first cup of coffee and we’re finally getting close,” University of Idaho professor, John Shovic said.
Shovic said jobs in the computer science industry are on the rise. He believes this new program and the proximity to entrepreneurs in the building will provide great job opportunities for students, “We’re creating students that can really do things right out the door as soon as they go into the company.”
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