Boys and Girls Club of the Golden Triangle leadership previewed design plans for new facilities in Starkville and West Point on Thursday evening.
Mississippi State University students in the school’s chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) presented designs for the facilities they’ve come up with since engaging in a charette — a brief period of design work — with the Boys and Girls Club last week.
BGC Golden Triangle is looking to move to a bigger location in Starkville and to build a new facility in West Point. Nadia Colom, BGC Golden Triangle CEO, said the Starkville club has outgrown the building it’s rented on Lynn Lane for the past 15 or so years. The club serves up to 140 children daily, and she said the waiting list has grown as high as 100 children during this past summer.
Colom said the new Starkville club is planned to be built in Westside Park.
In West Point, she said, the club is looking to build a facility on Fifth Street to fill a gap in its service area.
“That community was last on the national register in 2001,” Colom said. “That was before our organization chartered. We’ve always had these conversations about fulfilling a need in the entire Golden Triangle.”
Alexis Gregory, an associate architecture professor, said she works with the BGC Golden Triangle on projects and thought the design charette, which began on Nov. 7, would be a good opportunity for the NOMAS students.
The students will continue to work on brochures that BGC Golden Triangle will incorporate into its 36 Reasons fundraising campaign on Nov. 22-27.
Thursday’s event saw five presentations, for which students, working individually or in groups, gave their ideas for the new club. Each of the ideas was different — some students incorporated overhangs for buses to drop off students, while others incorporated multiple floors or open central courtyard areas for the club — but adhered to a set of goals BGC Golden Triangle laid out for what it wants to do with each facility.
Colom said the club hopes to have the same, or similar, shells for the main buildings of both clubs, but with key differences. The club is looking to incorporate an indoor swimming pool at the new Starkville location and an outdoor playing field at West Point. The idea, she said, is to create different focal points in each community that can, in turn, serve all of the club’s students.
“We could put a pool in one facility for all of the kids to use,” she said. “Columbus has the best gym. We could do something unique in and build on what the community has with flag football.”
Colom also stressed the club wants the buildings to have separate spaces for its teenagers and younger children.
One presentation, by senior architecture student and NOMAS Vice President Jordan Smith, used a two-floor design to separate the younger children from the teenagers. The teenagers would be upstairs, while the younger children would be downstairs.
It further incorporated a central area, from which the rest of the club was accessible, and a four-lane competitive swimming pool and basketball court.
Another presentation, from junior architecture student Miles Jeffries, included an overhang for its drop off space, with administrative offices focused around the central area.
After the presentations, Jeffries said working with BGC Golden Triangle has been a “great experience.”
“It’s a learning experience for all of us,” Jeffries said. “In school, we kind of get these hypothetical clients — not an actual client, but people they propose to us. Working with an actual client, being able to make changes they requested, getting feedback and giving input — it’s a good conversation type of experience that’s going to help us later on in life.”
Isaac Johnson, a junior architecture student, said he is grateful for the opportunity to present ideas for the new facilities.
“Being an architecture student — that’s the payoff,” he said. “That’s a big deal, for them to come to us and let us help on this project. It’s a great thing.”
BGC Golden Triangle will work with the Columbus-based Major Design Studio to design the new clubs.
Major Andrews, an architect with the firm, said he liked some of the ideas that were presented through the charrette process, including keeping younger kids separated from teenagers and having a central courtyard area in the main building.
Andrews said the design process is still in the very early stages, and no specifics have yet been finalized.
“It’s a good experience for the students to have, to have a real-world experience,” he said. “They had an actual client that they have to satisfy, so that gives you some guidelines to design around.”