USU Students Turning Old House Into Center Of Activity

Apr 15, 2014

Pergolas are under construction at the LAEP House near the Utah State University campus. Students in the landscape architecture and environmental planning department are working on the house to gain experience in their field.
Pergolas are under construction at the LAEP House near the Utah State University campus. Students in the landscape architecture and environmental planning department are working on the house to gain experience in their field.
Credit Eric Jungblut / Utah Public Radio

Students are busy at work turning an old house near the Utah State University campus into a hub of activity for the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department.

This project was designed by students in the fall of 2012, said Phil Waite, associate LAEP professor. He said the department has taken on the build as a service project.

"There's a variety of students: sophomores, juniors, seniors, grad students, two or three professors, adjuncts, instructors, everybody's out here working together to complete the project," Waite said.

Students were sawing lumber to set up pergolas, which are shaded walkways that plants hang from. Waite said the LAEP House and its surrounding yard will become a center for activities for the department, such as barbecues and seminars. He said guest lecturers for the department can stay in the house when they come to talk to students.

Waite said the purpose of the project is to provide LAEP students with hands-on construction experience. He described it as similar to the way a chef would be trained.

"(Chefs) take menu planning, they take classes in where does food come from, tasting and flavors and all that stuff, but if they never stepped foot in a kitchen, would you hire that chef?" Waite said. "So the whole point is, these are chefs in the kitchen."

Waite said the project teaches students about sustainable design and low-water-use landscaping. He said the site will feature drip watering systems rather than large sprinkler heads.

The site will take several years to finish and will be part of what Waite calls the landscape architecture field studio, which includes developing a future site on 1400 North.

-Eric Jungblut is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism at Utah State University.