Students design and build-to-last a ticket booth at Emmaus High School
It all started with a playhouse, a request from a colleague and inspiration from a son.
Earlier this month, the installation of the ticket booth at Memorial Field at Emmaus High School made manifest a project imagined by Erin Urffer, an Emmaus graduate. It was collaborated on and built by Urffer's classmates based on a request from Dennis Ramella, athletic director at EHS, and filling a vision of Scott Didra, architecture and drafting teacher at EHS.
Didra wanted his students to design and build a project modeled in part on the successful and popular playhouse on school grounds completed in 2010 for the childcare development classes at the school.
Meanwhile, Ramella needed a ticket booth at Memorial Field, home field of the lacrosse, soccer and field hockey teams.
Ramella approached Didra who pulled a page from the playbook of his son Christian, an architectural designer. The younger Didra suggested the project link elements of college coursework and work environment practices, Didra explained. Ramella became the client for whom the architecture class was working and each student presented an idea for the booth to a jury made up of classmates.
The students built the winning design on a pad within steps of the architecture classroom.
"I wanted students not just to be able to design something but to have them build it in a real-life situation," Didra said.
Urffer is now a freshman at Philadelphia University.
"I was looking for a building that could comfortably house the people selling the tickets as well as room for storage and an area where people were sheltered from the elements when they purchased tickets," Urffer said by email last week.
Urffer's design incorporates two ticket windows and a roof overhang to provide shade and shelter to ticket buyers and sellers alike.
Local businesses helped the effort with expertise and materials for the project. For example, Wood Naturally, based in Hereford, donated the moving of the booth to the Pine Street Gate at the field. Equally important, however, was the mentorship the crew offered to the students, Didra said.
Turf Pro LV, of Macungie, will donate landscaping, including pavers, around the booth, a 225-square-foot project anticipated to take two to three days, said Mike Rhoads, company owner and president. The project would cost almost $4,000, Rhoads explained.
Work will start the first week of October and will include preparing the ground and installing the pavers.
Plans are for a dedication ceremony to take place Oct. 18. Didra would like Urffer to attend.
"I have seen the ticket booth fully completed and I have to say it looks beautiful," Urffer wrote in an email.
However, Didra's architecture class is not resting on its laurels, so to speak.
Students have started working on plans for a press box for the field.
A two story structure, the press box will need enough strategically placed windows to allow a panoramic view of the field.
Shane Schwindenhammer, of Macungie, and Dakota DeLong, of Emmaus, both seniors in Didra's archetecture class, worked on their designs in a recent study hall. DeLong spent more than two hours the night before tweaking his design, not as homework, but because he enjoys the process.
The press box will need to accommodate statisticians, scorekeepers and sportswriters, Schwindenhammer explained. The games also will be announced from the box so a public address system will play a part in the finished structure.
Like its ticket booth predecessor, the press box will be built on the staging pad near the architecture classroom. The students will cut lumber in a nearby stairwell, frame and assemble the walls, install the siding and anything else that needs to be done. In other words the students will build the structure from the ground up into a lasting edifice.
Urffer, who is studying architecture and has dreamed of being an architect since middle school, is pleased about the permanance of the ticket booth.
"It is nice to have the recognition, but I was more excited that my design was the winner because the ticket booth will stay at Emmaus High School [longer] than I did, so it is kind of like a mark I will leave on the high school."
Alec Joshi is looking toward a similar experience.
A freshmen in Didra's Drafting I course, Joshi is already quizzing Didra about the project planned for when Joshi becomes an upperclassmen.
"If there is something I can do in architecture in my future life, I would be into it," Joshi said.