ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When you walk past the construction site for Hardin-Simmons University’s (HSU) future engineering program, it may look like any other regular building. However, inside the walls they design a unique and interactive way to learn.
This building is expected to be completed in 2023, so there is still a lot of construction work to do, but most of the pipes and infrastructure visible on the ceiling will remain exposed for engineering students to watch, learn and absorb every day.
“They are constantly involved in this project, so it is always familiar to them,” said HSU construction manager Andrew Briscoe.
Briscoe told KTAB/KRBC his team also created a spot where clear glass covers the brick from the inside, showing the construction of the wall.
While they work hard to ensure students have a unique experience, that’s nothing new for HSU.
“Every building that Hardin-Simmons builds is designed with the user in mind,” Briscoe explained.
The Houston Lantrip Center has also been designed to help children indoors, right down to the textures of the walls and the colors of the room.
“We used the blues here,” Briscoe explained. “Blue is a soothing color.” He says the textured walls help children with tactile or sensory needs.
Some chairs in the building were even designed for them. Namely, a noise canceling chair available.
This is helpful for many children with disabilities or special needs, including one of the children Ashley Alwine works with.
“One of our individuals, who has high tactile sensory needs, really benefits from being able to feel the different textures on his hands,” Alwine explained.
Children are excited about the different walls, according to Alwine.
“There are areas he likes more than others, so he’ll get excited and hit on them,” Alwine painted. “Then run to the other one and hit it.”
Alwine, the Lead Board’s certified behavior analyst, also told KTAB/KRBC that it’s helpful for them to interact with them before they have to do the work, helping to calm and focus the children.
Briscoe hopes the interactive elements he’s building in the engineering building will be as useful for his engineering students as the Houston Lantrip Center is for the kids inside.
This building is expected to be completed by fall 2023 – just in time for the new program to begin this semester.