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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Academics & Research

Student-built project to be unveiled

After 17 weeks of planning, preparation and grueling manual labor for students in UH’s Graduate Design/Build Studio (GDBS), all their work culminated Oct. 8 with the unveiling of an outdoor amphitheater at a local

Students from the T.H. Rogers School sit under the recently completed amphitheatre, which was designed and built by UH graduate students over the summer. | Courtesy of Patrick Peters

alternative school.

The T.H. Rogers School will host a dedication ceremony to show their appreciation for the hard work of the students, contractors and GDBS director Patrick Peters.

“This was the student’s job the entire summer,” Peters said. “It was a trade-off because the kind of learning experience they were able to get couldn’t be replicated in a normal studio.”

John Wilkinson, a graduate student in the Gerald D. Hines School of Architecture, agreed.

“Everyone saw this as a valuable experience for our careers and futures, so we all made sacrifices to be a part of it,” Wilkinson said.

The students worked together to come up with viable designs tailored to fit the school’s wants and needs. The build team used feedback from students, faculty and PTO members at T.H. Rogers in order to come up with the final design, which is a wheelchair accessible outdoor amphitheater with three rows of bench seating and a tensile fabric canopy.

The Design-Build Studio has been designing and building non-profit community enhancing projects for over 20 years, with the generous support of community sponsors and contractors.

This year the husband and wife team, Elizabeth and William Murrell of Murrell Tensile Works, were crucial in guiding the students through the technical difficulties involved in the roof design.

Patrick Peters said he was pleased to be able to work with such a cohesive group of students and an appreciative client.

“The community at T.H. Rogers is exemplary,” Peters said. “Both in their appreciation demonstrated to us and expectations of themselves as clients and users.”

T.H. Rogers is an alternative primary and secondary public school that serves gifted, talented and deaf students as well as other impaired students.

Due to the conditions of some of the students who attend T.H. Rogers, it is not uncommon for students to pass away throughout the school year. In memory, T.H. Rogers has a designated rose garden for those who have passed away.

One member of the GDBS team, Colley Hodges, had a more personal connection with the project. His brother, Peter Hodges, attended T.H. Rogers’ from 1983-86. Peter was later killed in an unfortunate car accident.

“When I mentioned this to Debbie Lancaster (a teacher at Rogers) she brought up the possibility of planting a rose bush in Peter’s memory,” Hodges said. “Even if there wasn’t this personal connection to the school, the project would still have been fantastic to be involved in., but the fact that my brother attended Rogers made this project all the more special for me.”

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