Innovative clusters

first_imgA few visitors got a first glimpse of how Old Quincy House will look after the completion of the renewal process next year, thanks to a tour of a full-scale mockup of the soon-to-be-renovated accommodations. The model, constructed at One Western Ave. by Harvard Planning and Project Management (HPPM), showcases improvements and upgrades to rooms on a typical Old Quincy corridor.“The mockup is an example of a modernized, upgraded space that faithfully preserves the historic character of Old Quincy House,” said Dean Michael D. Smith of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS). “It allows us to test designs and configurations before we move into construction late this spring. Just as the test project is designed to inform a future House renewal effort, the model is designed to inform the test project, and it seems we have a combination of elements that really excites people.”“The general approach is to keep as much of the old building material as possible, if it’s still serviceable and if it will last,” said Mark Johnson (left), Harvard’s vice president for capital planning and project management. Johnson was joined by Steve Needham, HPPM’s senior director of project management, during the tour.The mockup — which consists of a bathroom, a common room, and two bedrooms — represents a cluster community, one of the project’s key components. Although half of the rooms in Old Quincy will continue to be suites of bedrooms and a common room, the rest will come in clusters, featuring a common room shared by 10 to 16 students, who live in single or double bedrooms. Students in the suites and clusters will share hall baths. A small number of the suites will be two-story duplexes with baths.  The primary hall bath configuration will consist of two toilets, two showers, and two sinks in stalls with a high level of privacy that will be shared by 8 to 10 students. Single unisex baths will also be provided for additional privacy and convenience.Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds said that the new configuration will enable significant improvements in residential life.Two model bedrooms were also featured, both a single and a double (pictured). The renovation maximizes the number of singles available to residents.“The Old Quincy test project is the result of a long conversation with students and faculty about how to renew the House,” Hammonds said. “The cluster arrangement will allow us to eliminate walk-throughs, maximize the number of single rooms, and transform the lower level into common space, all of which will boost quality of life for the House’s undergraduate residents.”Enhanced tutor communities, an important element in Old Quincy’s renewal not included in the mockup, will provide additional cohesion to the clusters. Each tutor will have a similar number of students and live in an apartment that is physically central to his or her  community. Each will have a common room with a fireplace that is a visual center for his or her group.“Tutors reinforce the values and strengths of House life,” Hammonds said. “The test project will improve the clarity and boundaries of their communities, which are a critical component of the learning experience at the College.”Steve Needham, HPPM’s senior director of project management, and Merle Bicknell, assistant dean for FAS physical resources, began their tour in a cluster bathroom. The space included two showers, two sinks, and two toilets with stall doors that ran nearly from floor to ceiling to maximize privacy. The room also sported cubbies for residents’ toiletries.“The cubbies are actually a request of students who participated in the feedback committee we convened,” Bicknell explained. “They won’t be locked, but will give the students a chance to leave their things here. That way, they don’t have to carry wet or soapy items back to their rooms, or leave them lying around the common bathroom space.”The bathrooms include cubbies for toiletries, which was a request made by students.Next door was a model of a cluster common room with large, comfortable chairs and an ornamental fireplace. When the test project is complete, wireless Internet access will flow through the space, and flat-screen TVs will be mounted above mantelpieces, wired for easy connection with students’ Xboxes and PlayStations. Architect Steve Kieran said that these rooms will be the hubs of smaller communities throughout the House.“Each cluster is centered on a shared commons with a fireplace, wall-mounted television, and comfortable lounge furnishings,” Kieran said. “There will be artwork and other things that represent the cluster both here and in the halls.”Just down from the common space were two model bedrooms, a single and a double. Both included sturdy oak dressers, desks, and beds. The single was compact, but not cramped. With both beds on the floor, the double still felt roomy and, with the beds bunked, would be positively spacious. Best of all, Needham said, the rooms’ size and configurations would maximize the number of singles available to residents.“All the seniors and half the juniors will have the opportunity for a single, if they choose,” he said.Sustainability is prominent in the renewal plan, which aims for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The entire building envelope will be insulated, and the windows replaced to increase conservation and comfort. Mark Johnson, Harvard’s vice president for capital planning and project management, said that the Old Quincy Renewal will also emphasize recycling and reuse. Wood floors will be re-sanded and refinished, rather than replaced. Doors will be resized to fit new entrances. Even the rain that falls on Old Quincy will be captured and used to supply wastewater.“The general approach is to keep as much of the old building material as possible, if it’s still serviceable and if it will last,” said Johnson. “The most sustainable option is always to use existing materials. To the extent that we use new materials, they will be subject to rigorous sustainability review.”Needham said that the improvements to Old Quincy are also sustainable in a different way: They are designed to last. The bathroom finishes and other renovations should be good for 50 to 75 years and should serve generations of students well.“Over time, you’ll change things like the fixtures, faucets, etc.,” Needham said. “But I think that the materials we’ve chosen are very durable. They’re easy to maintain and should stand up to undergraduate use.”Quincy House Co-Masters Lee and Deborah Gehrke came away from the tour feeling excited about the impending renewal project. Although they were impressed with the updates and improvements, they were most pleased that the model still felt like home.“The renewed space had the unmistakable look and feel of Old Quincy,” said Lee Gehrke. “It was very reassuring, and increased our excitement about the project.  We’re looking forward to the ground-breaking ceremony in May!”last_img read more

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The Village Girl

first_imgTucked away in Jenay Wenay, a small village on the outskirts of Grand Cape Mount County, is eight year-old Siatta Massaley, another Ebola survivor and orphan. Wearing a look of grief, loneliness and despair on her sad face, Siatta prefers sitting silently in her corner of pain rather then playing as any normal child would.Villagers in Siatta’s town say the child has seen more than her little heart can handle and that she’s not alone in her depression.According to Jenay Wenay’s assistant town chief Moumou S. Massaley, there are over 150 Ebola orphans nestled in the care of various people who are trying to help.“We have many children who either lost a parent or both parents. In fact, many of our relatives from the Massaley family lost their lives to Ebola. All in all, we lost 45 people to Ebola and each left behind their child” he added.Jenneh Massaley, one of the two wives that Siatta’s father traditionally married, says Siatta’s father went to Monrovia after the family was infected with Ebola and has yet to return back to the village.“It was my mate, Siatta’s mother, who had Ebola and passed it on to Siatta, my grandson Fasisu Kaiwe, my husband and myself. Siatta contracted Ebola because she was the one cleaning all of our vomit when we were sick in the house,” Jenneh added.Upon hearing her story being explained to this paper, Siatta placed her sweatshirt hood over her head as if to hide from what she was hearing and from the memories.According to Jenneh, who says she survived Ebola as well, Siatta and her family went through days of hiding, weeks of being in the hospital and now find themselves trying to grasp what happened to them.“Siatta is hurting. We lost Fasisu who was only six years old and Siatta’s mother. The child is seriously traumatized as you can see and I’m appealing for help in bringing her back to life,” Jenneh pleaded.Meanwhile, Siatta, who held back tears, moved about on the porch slowly while pacing back and forth as her stepmother recalled a day in December 2014.“After Siatta’s mother became ill, Siatta did all the cleaning up after her. Then her father fell ill and passed it on to me. My grandson Fasisu was sleeping with Siatta and myself and that’s how he became ill with the virus,” she added,”After Siatta’s mother died and we all became ill, I ran away from our village with the two children and went into Monrovia to seek treatment. Anywhere we went, they refused us and because of that, I had to hide with the kids sometimes in dark places like garages and so on,” she said.According to Jenneh, contact tracers from Cape Mount alerted officials that she had escaped along with two sick children, one being on the verge of death.“We were so sick and unable to get help on our own. Luckily a contact tracer traced us in a garage after residents there told them that we were lying there for two days. We were lucky enough to get help and were taken to the ETU on December 6, 2014 and released on the 20th. Fasisu, my baby, my poor grandson didn’t make it.  He died there two days after we were admitted,” she tearfully said.Meanwhile, Jenay Wenay has seen much devastation since Ebola hit its tightly knit village in the past three months.Presently, Jenay Wenay has no livestock, crops or drinking water in the village. After taking a tour of three of its farms which were once run by many who have since passed from Ebola, empty rice fields now filled with grass and bushes are all that’s left.“Our main market that generates the most money was closed down by the government months ago and should be opening by the time this story is published. We were asked to stop mining gold and other things that involved too much physical contact,” Moumou added.” Because of not being able to get money from the mining and so on, we had to abandon our farms and some of the farm owners died from Ebola,” he said.While Jenay Wenay has been secluded from all activity, the town says there has not been a single case of Ebola since January, which doesn’t hide the fact that there is a lot of infrastructure and rehabilitation needed in its village.And while residents wait for things to fall back into place, Siatta silently sits and waits for what more might happen.“I’m only looking forward to school opening, that’s all,” she shrugged.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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