Students at the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University for years have learned by doing here in the Ozarks.
For example, professor Traci Sooter, other Drury professors and 35 third-year architecture students went to Joplin following the deadly EF5 tornado of 2011 that killed 161.
They designed and built the 26,000-square-foot Butterfly Garden and Overlook.
This month, Sooter, who started at Drury in 1999, and her students completed project No. 19 in her Design-Build Program.
They unveiled an 80-square-foot overnight cottage at the Revive 66 Campground at 3839 W. Chestnut Expressway.
The former parking lot was converted into a place where those without shelter can spend the night in a small, solar-powered teardrop trailer — or a few other small structures — and take a shower and do laundry.
The campground opens at 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It is not open on weekends.
Guests are asked to contribute $10. If they don’t have it, vouchers sometimes are available. Contributions for vouchers can be made at https://revive66.org/donate/.
Dr. David and Linda Brown formed the Gathering Tree in the fall of 2010.
Drury’s new cottage was made bigger so it could contain a bed that could sleep two. Only a few of the trailers or small structures at the campground can sleep two.
“Most other shelters don’t allow couples,” Sooter tells me. “It’s also big enough for someone who uses a wheelchair.”
The cottage has a ramp and, in general, is more inviting. It has a window design in the wall and colored panels of green, blue and amber on the exterior.
Sooter calls them “cathedral windows.” They are not glass, but have better insulation.
“We wanted them to give off a warm glow at night,” she says.
That’s why, she says, the new cottage is at the high point of the campground, in the center.
In a way, she says, it serves as a beacon.
The cottage has a custom-built headboard that stores solar equipment. The roof reaches out over a small deck.
Heat comes via an electric radiant floor system. The walls are well insulated. Even the studs in the wood are designed to retain heat.
“I think it will be nice and toasty in there for folks,” Sooter says.
Will the cottage be replicated at the Revive 66 Campground?
That’s up to the Gathering Tree board, says Sooter, who is a member of that board.
Sooter and her Drury students a couple years ago designed and built a tiny home at Eden Village 1, 2801 E Division St.
It was custom-built for a young man who is deaf.
“He was the same age as our students,” Sooter says.
The small house was designed so that the resident — who still lives there — had visual cues for what was happening via sound in the house.
Last year, she says, her architecture students designed and built two teardrop trailers for the campground.
Over the years, Sooter says, her students have built a Habitat for Humanity house and, for example, worked on the Farmers Market pavilion on Commercial Street.
Nate Schlueter, who oversees Revive 66 Campground, is grateful Drury has committed to helping those without shelter.
“It has been a great relationship,” he says. “First off, it allows us to work with students and change the perspective of homelessness and bring out the humanity of those without shelter.
“And it allows us to have greatly built and designed stuff that we can use to serve the people who we care about.”
This is Pokin Around column No. 35