MIT students aid prison to farm effort


Students repurposing facility with 3D scanning

By Nolan Gilmour - ngilmour@civitasmedia.com



Nolan Gilmour | Laurinburg Exchange MIT architecture graduate students Joey Swerdlin, right, and Alex Bodkin, left, scan one of the cell blocks of the Wagram Prison with Seth Heffern, Growing Change operations manager.


WAGRAM — Massachusetts Institute of Technology architecture students are helping bring the GrowingChange Wagram prison re-purposing project to life through 3D scanning.

For the past two weeks, Alex Bodkin and Joey Swerdlin, a pair of 27-year-olds halfway through MIT’s school of architecture and planning, have been mapping the Wagram prison site with three dimensional imaging technology.

GrowingChange, founded by Noran Sanford is creating a multi-propose facility with the abandoned Wagram prison to provide opportunities for young people caught in the juvenile court system in Scotland and surrounding counties.

“It’s nice to have the MIT guys out here to do all the drawings,” said Seth Heffern, GrowingChange operations manager. “The biggest thing is a long term relationship with MIT built by the visit. Next year they could bring down first and second year students in the architecture department and bring them out here to work on the bigger picture with the site plan.”

Bodkin, who earned his undergraduate degree in architecture at the University of Waterloo and Swerdlin, who obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Buffalo both said the idea to work with growing change fell right in front of them after speaking with Sanford, now the two are earning credit through MIT for their summer project.

“I have a long standing interest in adaptive reuse projects, so this is a really cool opportunity to test some of these things out,” Bodkin said, who has seen a few prison renovations that have been for hotels and other high end functions, but none like the Wagram site. “I have never seen one that has such an incredible social mission behind it.”

The two students used an $80,000 Lidar scanner, which was donated for them to use for the duration of their stay by Duncan-Parnell and BuildingPoint Southeast in Charlotte. The machine works by shooting a laser that maps each point of a room or building.

“It is basically a laser measure, but its spinning and recording millions of points and right now we have it set up to take about 35 million points with each scan,” Swerdlin said.

The graduate students have taken hundreds of images during the stay in Scotland County and plan to stitch them all together. They will then plug them into an architecture computer program to create a 3D plan to help GrowingChange share what the finished site will look like in more detail.

“Once we have that data we can then transform that into a 3D model that we will then be able to work from remotely and help out with the design and continue collaborating with GrowingChange,” Swerdlin said.

The scanning will also provide a physical model in the future as the organization moves through its renovation. GrowingChange has scheduled the grand opening of the Wagram prison site for Sept. 9 and is currently in the first phase of the renovation process, according to Heffern.

Once complete the site will act as a sustainable farm, youth counseling center, conference center, and will feature live stock, a rock-climbing and repelling wall, and offer job experience for youth who have seen themselves involved in the juvenile court system.

Nolan Gilmour | Laurinburg Exchange MIT architecture graduate students Joey Swerdlin, right, and Alex Bodkin, left, scan one of the cell blocks of the Wagram Prison with Seth Heffern, Growing Change operations manager.
http://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/web1_mit-1.jpgNolan Gilmour | Laurinburg Exchange MIT architecture graduate students Joey Swerdlin, right, and Alex Bodkin, left, scan one of the cell blocks of the Wagram Prison with Seth Heffern, Growing Change operations manager.
Students repurposing facility with 3D scanning

By Nolan Gilmour

ngilmour@civitasmedia.com

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171

Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171

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