February 27, 2014 12:00AM
A classroom unlike any other at Pittsburg State University was recently unveiled at the Kansas Technology Center.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Design and Engineering Lab at the Kansas Technology Center took place Wednesday, Feb. 26. The ribbon, by the way, was made of wood and cut with a saw.
“We thought that would be appropriate for this project,” said Charlie Phillips, assistant professor of wood technology.
The lab, part of the Pitt State Wood Technology program, was designed during the Spring 2012 semester by graduate students Chris Bell and Scott Vasey, who both later went on to work at Advanced Fixtures Incorporated near Dallas, Texas.
Bell and Vasey presented the project to AFI leadership, and the company awarded a grant of $30,000 to Pittsburg State to fund the project.
“When we both ended up at AFI,” Vasey said, “we started talking about the lab we designed at Pitt State. Our boss asked us how much it would take to make it happen, and AFI made it happen. It looks incredible. It’s even better than we imagined it could be.”
AFI President Tony Ewing said he was “very impressed” by the lab.
“You don’t see rooms like this on many college campuses,” he said. “The students at Pitt State are top notch, and you see that in their work on this project. The quality of the programs at the KTC is second to none, which is why we like hiring Gorillas.”
Doug Hague, assistant professor of wood technology, said the lab was built mostly by wood technology students.
“It’s an amazing room,” Hague said. “It’s a unique learning environment, and it’s one that fosters creativity and exploration.”
It’s so unique, Hague said, that it was kept a secret from those who didn’t work on the project.
“We’ve wanted to keep this one a little private because we wanted to see the looks in the eyes when people see it for the first time,” he said.
Construction on the project began in November 2013.