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BRTC Health Science Complex
November 13, 2015
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November 2nd was a really good day. We attended the opening of the recently completed Health Science Complex at Black River Technical College (BRTC) in Pocahontas, Arkansas. The two story, 40,000 s.f. building is a significant addition to their beautifully cultivated campus, and we are extremely proud to have been involved. The new building provides much needed classroom and office space, as well as sophisticated laboratories for their science and nursing programs. The new spaces should provide a boost to aspiring students, as well as give the faculty an improved teaching environment. On this day, the new building was buzzing with activity—teachers and students engaged. More than two years after discussions began on this project, it is days like this we most enjoy doing what we do.
Dr. Eric Turner, the President of BRTC, gave an excellent speech recognizing those involved in the project—most importantly the dedicated administration and faculty, past and present, that worked so hard for many years to see the vision through—made possible by the serious and committed Board of Trustees. As one might imagine, a project such as this requires hard work from literally hundreds—and it is truly humbling to consider our part in the orchestra of architecture and building construction. We are very proud for our client.
So it is on days like this when construction of the project officially comes to an end, we think much about successes and failures. It is a critical exercise for us. As architects, we are in a position of leadership, responsible to public health, welfare, and safety. There is no question that the act of building is a very serious endeavor, one of the most significant in which we engage. Regardless of the project, when we build, we make decisions that require great resources, consume enormous amounts of energy, and impact society for this generation and many more to follow. This is true no matter the project, no matter the budget, no matter the size or significance of the structure. We must continue to learn if we are to improve in designing better and smarter. So as this new building is a center for learning for many students that will pass through it—it is also a laboratory for us—indeed for all those involved.
Thankfully, this grand opening ceremony doesn’t mark the end of our commitment to our awesome client, Black River Technical College. The building they have now inherited from the general contractor is theirs to use and maintain. We look forward to seeing how the building is actually used—how it performs—if some of the products and systems we designed and specified are functioning as intended. It is our intent to work with our client in monitoring its use and performance so that as we look to design and build again, we can bring lessons learned to bear on future projects.
Aaron Ruby, AIA, LEED AP
Aaron recently merged the firm he founded, Ruby Architects, with Allison Architects in the summer of 2014. Aaron has been active in the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures in Arkansas since graduating from the UofA in 1997. He is a committed volunteer, serving on both preservation and design related groups, as well as serving as a volunteer firefighter.
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