Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Drafting students learning ropes of new software

September 5, 2007

Architecture students at Basehor-Linwood High School are tossing out the old and starting new this school year.

The Basehor-Linwood school board voted to approve a new AutoCAD program in May, which permitted the purchase of new computers and an upgrade in computer drafting software for architecture students. The students previously were using a drafting program called VectorWorks, but school officials say the upgrade to AutoCAD will better prepare them for college since area universities employ AutoCAD rather than VectorWorks in their curriculum.

"When they leave here, they'll be using AutoCAD," drafting teacher Steve Myer said. "It just makes this a more viable program."

Advanced architecture students worked on a floor plan of the nearby school woodshop during class Friday afternoon. They spent time the previous week exploring the shop to see the general layout of the room, taking measurements of all the tools in the room and making a rough sketch before hitting the computers to start drafting.

Myer, who is also a construction trades and cabinet-making teacher, said the state mandates improvements every three years to vocational classes, such as those that occur in the woodshop. His advisory council wanted a floor plan of the current woodshop to make sure any new tools added in lieu of the improvements would fit.

"The only reason they're working on this is because it is practical for them," Myer said about the woodshop project.

Students in the class agreed that working with AutoCAD was completely different than VectorWorks, and a lot of the school year so far has been learning how to use the new program.

Once the students are comfortable with AutoCAD, growth opportunities for the program will be great, Myer said. Students now will be able to participate in an annual state drafting contest in Wichita that they previously missed out on because the computers at the contest are set up for AutoCAD. Myer said he also hoped students someday would be able to gain college credit for the class.

"Everyone here has been in a drafting class before," Myer said. "Even though they're used to VectorWorks, it helps that the terminology is the same. At the very beginning, we're just going to have to go through all the different parts of the program, take it slow and make sure they understand."

With the program, all students will have learned all the different parts of a house including the living, sleeping and serving quarters and be able to put them together by the end of the year. Advanced students will create their own house and a compact disc that includes a virtual tour of the house they created, Myer said.

While the class will benefit those going into architecture, interior design and other building trades, Myer said, it will also be beneficial to those who do not choose one of those career paths.

"They are going to live in a house someday," he said. "They will know how it's put together and just understand how a good quality house is built."

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