Extreme Makeover: CACTC edition


The students in the Level 3 Senior CAD Drafting Technology/Architectural Design Class at the Cranston Area Career and Technical Center (CACTC) recently embarked on a real-life architecture project entitled, "Transforming a Design into Reality." That reality is a beachfront cottage for a client in South Kingstown looking to build an addition to her house.

There were several parameters presented to the students at the start of the project. They were asked to come up with options for a 300 square-foot addition to the back of the existing house, keeping the bathroom where it was. The students were allowed to change the layout of the house and add or remove rooms. They had to make sure that there was a master bedroom, guest bedroom and office in the new plans, and remember to leave room for utilities.

On Jan. 23, the students each presented their three-dimensional plans, along with the materials and labor costs to their client and to guests from the Rhode Island Department of Education, the Cranston School Committee, Cranston Public Schools Central Office, city of Cranston, Cranston High School West and CACTC. The Culinary Arts program at CACTC provided a buffet luncheon during the presentation.

Cranston High School West Principal Tom Barbieri and CACTC Director Gerry Auth discussed why such hands-on learning is so important in educating students today.

"We are going beyond the four walls of our school, beyond just the high school diploma and going out into the community and working with community members," said Barbieri. "That is what makes you a successful student, a marketable student. This is about everyone coming together. Our students get a high school diploma plus extra program certificates. It's not just about a high school diploma anymore; it's more than that and we want our students to always be the number one candidate in their job search."

Auth agreed, noting that real-world experience makes students more attractive to employers.

"This year we really wanted to stress connecting our programs to the community. This is where education is going; it's not just sitting in the classrooms and writing a paper about doing a project. These students are really going out and doing it," he said.

Faculty advisor for the CAD Drafting Technology/Architectural Design program at CACTC, Rich Londardo, discussed some of the new innovations the program will be taking on this year and beyond.

"We've been traveling the state and talking to different colleagues about the different components of our program and no one in the state can compare to our program here," he said. "There isn't any place we don't go. We are partnering with Roger Williams University, where their professor will come and teach our students, and our students will earn three college credits for that. We are partnering with the Cranston Chamber of Commerce to redo an 80-by-60 space into an office space. That is a serious step because this is the real world. We are measuring, asking the clients what they want and drawing out our final drafts."

Following Lonardo's introduction, the students took over the presentation. Tom Santurri introduced the students and each came forward to present their house model, floor plans and projected costs.

Sarah White created a PowerPoint presentation for the client, as a means of showing the audience tools that are currently used in the drafting industry. In White's presentation, which was the design ultimately chosen by the client, she utilized the natural light available on the property by adding in several six-foot windows and a bay window. White also added a walk-in closet to the master bedroom and embedded a fish tank into one wall, which she said served a dual purpose.

"The fish tank is visually appealing and also obstructs the view of the bathroom," White said.

White designed a chef's kitchen that included plenty of counter space and an island with a built-in stovetop.

"My goal was to increase space, maximize the natural sunlight and increase the flow throughout the house," she said.

At the end of the presentation, the students gave a brief overview of two other on-site projects they have been working on: an outdoor patio for the Culinary Arts program and a redesigned space for the Aquaculture program. A tour of the program's space was given following the presentation and guests were able to get a close-up look at each of the three-dimensional models created.


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