With the ribbon cutting ceremony over, Keene State College’s Technology, Design, and Safety Center is now officially unveiled to the campus and the Keene community.
But the work isn’t over. The TDS Center will be upgraded to educate people about how to build and design safe structures. A program is currently in the works at Keene State College that will teach students and community members about the time and effort that went into creating the TDS Center.
The project is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Interactive Educational Signage Project, and it exists for several reasons.
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According to Assistant Professor Bartlomiej Sapeta and Associate Professor Donna Paley, the intent of the program is to educate not just KSC students, but also the community about the building’s capabilities and the choices that were made for the building.
One of the aspects of this signage is to inform the community about the green aspects of the TDS building. With the completion of this project, the building will receive the LEED Certification which means that the TDS Center has reached high performance in areas such as environmental and human health, according to the Everblue website.
“LEED is just the framework we are trying to use because it will help us gain the point as well,” Sapeta said.
He continued, “Learning by doing is a really important concept and that’s the major element why we are doing the signage.” One of the new features being installed into this building is quick response (QR) codes.
According to Paley, a person can scan the QR code and access the knowledge of how that part of the building was made.
“You point your phone at that and the application connects to an internet website that has information about a specific aspect of the building,” Sapeta said. “You have a testing bay. A testing bay is basically a little component in the wall that allows you to test various materials,” he explained. According to Paley, the building is 30 percent solar powered and is the only all-electric building on campus.
Within the team are four senior architecture students. The four seniors were hand selected, according to Paley. “Their academic achievement in our classes gave them the opportunity to be selected for this,” Paley added. Sapeta agreed, “They have also volunteered for things before.”
One of these students is Austin Harris. Harris said, “I wanted to work with the new building and kind of become integrated into it.”
He continued, “It’s a good resume builder. Our professors came up and asked us if we had an interest in it and we agreed to it. I thought it would be a good challenge.”
Another is senior Michael Helmer. Helmer agreed with Harris on the educational opportunity provided and said, “It allowed us to work on a project outside of class,” he continued. “It was really mostly just a learning experience for us.”
Senior Stefan Cavezzali, another member of the student team, said the project will help bring the community members closer to the campus.
“Part of the goal of the interactive signage was to connect members of the community with members of the campus as well.”
Cavezzali continued, “We all want to connect the TDS Center as the focal point of that.” There will be different stations for different age groups ranging from easy to understand stations to technologically advanced stations, according to Cavezzali.
Senior Jacob Blake is the fourth member on the team. Blake shared, “We also designed the signage to tailor to all different ages.”
He continued, “We have very easy to understand ones for younger kid groups all the way to very technologically advanced options.”
Cavezzali added, “Most of it would be interactive so there would be hands on activities.”
Blake continued, “A lot of the stuff that we implemented in this project will be things that the first and second and third year students will be learning in the classes for architecture.”
Harris explained their work “kind of turns the building into more of a museum.”
Harris said the idea about this came about in fall 2011.
Paley said the anticipated date for the completion of Phase 1 is Spring 2014 where there will be a presentation of the project at the annual Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and Conference.
“One of the things is involving students directly in research with faculty and working as a team,” Paley said.
When asked if this project could bring something to the Architecture department, Paley said, “I think it will be a marketing tool, but I think the deeper purpose of it is just the educational outreach on the design of sustainable buildings.”
Cavezzali said, “This, I think, will bring it [architecture] to a whole new level.”
This signage project will benefit the environment, due to the building’s efficiency, and will bring the community together with the college by allowing the programs and stations to be open to both the campus and the community.
The signage will give the building the certification it needs to be considered an environmentally sustainable building.
Rebecca Marsh can be contacted at