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RMU Springfield’s Official Partnership for Revitalization
by Agustin Esquivel, Springfield Staff Writer
On Saturday, January 16, 2012, six interns in Robert Morris’ Architectural Technology CAD Program presented their senior capstone projects. Through these projects, members of Enos Park Development, as well as members of the community, were able to see illustrations and examples of facade renderings for the Enos Park neighborhood.
The goal for the Robert Morris University students is to help revitalize Springfield’s Enos Park neighborhood through its ICenter projects which focus on taking education into the implementation stage.
Using architecture software, students created examples of home designs that could be recommended for construction throughout the neighborhood. Styles include Queen Anne,Craftsman, and Dutch Colonial. The designs were shown in several typical sizes, as 1,200, 1,600 and 2,200 square foot homes; all of which are in keeping with the integrity of the neighborhood.
Enos Park’s Steve Combs told an intrigued audience Saturday that what started with a phone call last summer from a Robert Morris faculty member has now become an ongoing collaboration. Combs was also elated to announce that along with Robert Morris’ help, Habitat for Humanity is lending a helping hand to the cause. Having already committed to building five new homes in the neighborhood, students provided renderings for Habitat for Humanity that fit the guidelines for the homes they are allowed to build per corporate standards.
Enos Park Development has purchased over 40 properties in the neighborhood and plans eventually to turn the abandoned properties over to developers or contractors for renovations or demolition.
Saturday morning, before presentations began, Combs took pleasure in announcing an official partnership between Robert Morris University and Enos Park Development LLC. Combs assured important members and potential partners present at the announcement that the students’ work will aid in the plans for redevelopment.
“It gives us a visual to offer to potential new partners and gives them an opportunity to see the neighborhood revitalized before they do anything intrusive,” said Combs.
Dan Savery, Springfield professor of CAD and Architectural Technology at Robert Morris, said “This is a huge step for the students, not only that they get to put what they learn in my class to work, but it also creates opportunities for future internships. Having to find new venues for interns every ten weeks can be a struggle, but in assisting Enos Park’s ongoing cause to rebuild this historic neighborhood, through this partnership we won’t have to worry about that for some time. This is the tip of the ice-burg and I can’t wait to continue with this in the quarters to come because there is so much that our students have to offer.”
Along with presentations, the interns presented an “integrity map” of the neighborhood that identifies properties based on their conditionssuch as nationally historic, Springfield historic, good integrity, and poor integrity. Instead of looking at a bunch of data, the students produced a color-coded map that shows the conditions.
Of the soon to be graduates, Josh Branham was the final intern to present, bringing home the intentions of Robert Morris University. Not only did Branham show a personal interest in the efforts of Enos Park Development in his thanks for his unique opportunity, but he also suggested a starting point and a suggestion using a rendering of his own as an example for an existing building in the area.
When asked how he thought his project, as well as, those of his classmates would affect the plans of Enos Park he said, “From what Steve was saying today, I think I know even more now than before how it’s going to be used. After touring the neighborhood and seeing what this place used to look like, hopefully through our work and the work of future interns we’ll get it back to its former glory. I know we are about to graduate, but this is just the beginning for Enos Park. I’m just glad to have been a part of it.”
Although renovations and construction have not begun, planning, with the help of Robert Morris University, has indeed started to stumble in the right direction.