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Purdue students assess Logansport historic theater improvements for free

Dozens of Purdue University students have spent hours studying the Logansport Theater's foundation, walls and roof. About 95 of them have been spending their class time thinking of ways to best restore the more than seven-decade year old building. They say the project started with flooding issues in the theater, but it's become even more.

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 11:45 PM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 11:47 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Dozens of Purdue University students have spent hours studying the Logansport Theater's foundation, walls and roof. About 95 of them have been spending their class time thinking of ways to best restore the more than seven-decade year old building. They say the project started with flooding issues in the theater, but it's become even more.

"I had no idea this theater existed prior to this," said Brandon Holmes.

A few months ago, Purdue students Brandon Holmes and Charlie Tamayo had never heard of the Logansport State Theater.

"I knew where Logansport was and what kind of town it was," said Tamayo. "But I didn't know anything about the theater."

Now, the two students know the ins and outs of the theater like the back of their hands. The two and dozens of others have been tasked with studying the theater, coming up with renovations and improvements, as part of a civil engineering senior design class.

"We kind of have free range of what we want to do with the alley ways," said Ashleigh Moreland. "So, that's been kind of fun."

It all started when Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell asked Civil Engineering Professor Robert Jacko if his class could analyze the theater's water issues. When Jacko visited the theater, he came up with an even bigger project idea. He would have his students conduct a structural analysis free of charge for the city.

"It's a perfect experiment for our students," said Jacko. "To do calculations on. It's got water problems, storm water flooding problems. There is everything you would expect to see in an historic building that's probably seen its better days."

The students have been paired up into 15 different groups. Each group has their own specialty including transportation, foundation and structural engineering.

"It's certainly been difficult looking at these blue prints and making out what every word says," said Holmes.
All students have to go off of are old blue prints.

"The building was built in the 1880s so we actually don't have original plans for the building," said Tamayo. "We have these renovations plans from the 1940s."

At the end of the semester, the students will present their findings.

"That's our biggest goal is making the state theater a place where people want to spend their time," said Tamayo.

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