Archive for Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pinckney students’ lemonade stands on KU game day to raise money for tunnel repair

KU students design improvements for Pinckney School pedestrians

September 24, 2009


Pinckney parents selling lemonade to support school

One group of parents is setting up lemonade stands in old west Lawrence to help pay for the Pinckney School's new passageway. Enlarge video

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, sell it and plan a redesign to a tunnel that your children walk through during the school week.

At least that’s what Pinckney School parents are hoping to do.

On Saturday, families will be setting up lemonade stands in the Old West Lawrence neighborhood for the Kansas University football game against Southern Mississippi to raise money for a project to fix up the tunnel that runs underneath Sixth Street to their children’s school.

While parents feel lucky to have their school within walking distance, the underground walkway isn’t exactly a comfortable place.

“That tunnel is very dark. it’s very damp. It’s oftentimes very dirty,” Pinckney parent Sarah Crawford-Parker said. “Many kids in this neighborhood, when they walk to school in the morning, they occasionally have to confront a really unpleasant tunnel.”

Neighborhood residents are used to the hustle and bustle of football Saturdays and are hoping to capitalize on the crowd of people parking and walking to Memorial Stadium.

“Our kids are always asking to do a lemonade stand, and this is a great opportunity,” Crawford-Parker said. “We have a lot of foot traffic.”

But selling their wares, including 25-cent cups of lemonade, cookies, popcorn and other items, to the Jayhawk faithful isn’t the only connection the project has to the university. Tom Huang, a Pinckney parent and an associate professor of industrial design at KU, spearheaded the tunnel revamping as a real world project for his design students.

“The intention was to work with students to develop proposals, and that was as far as I had imagined taking it,” Huang said.

Each student created a design under a few guidelines set by Huang, including some sort of lighting proponent to increase the tunnel’s safety and the best materials to use to graffiti-proof the walls. The class voted on its three favorites and presented the ideas to Pinckney’s Parent Teacher Organization.

“There was great enthusiasm for everything they were trying to do,” Crawford-Parker said.

The group favorite, nicknamed the “Pixel Passageway,” consists of tiles with LED lights and infrared sensors. During the day, the tiles will glow blue and change to orange as someone passes, creating a shadow affect. The nighttime contrast would be the opposite, with orange tiles turning blue as they sense movement.

“They really do need to develop the technology a little bit first to find out how much manufacturing costs would be for something like that,” Huang said, since the idea of LED lights and sensors in tiles isn’t exactly a product students can pick up at any local hardware store. A group of now third-year design students — Tyler Lagaly, Kevin Meyer, Kyle Waggoner, Peter Ciurej and Ryan Jones — has taken the project on as an independent study to see how far the ideas can go.

“The scope of the project is still up in the air,” Huang said.

The school parents are also envisioning the project as something that will be good for their kids and the community as a whole.

“It’s really a design that we think is going to inspire the kids,” Crawford-Parker said. “But I think everybody’s on the same page about wanting it to be something that is sort of a community arts project.”

Huang also has high hopes that the finished product would be admired instead of vandalized.

“Murals seem to be respected,” Huang said. “My hope is that this thing has that kind of presence and affects people in that way, that it’d be something that people take pride in.”

The Pinckney lemonade network will be set up before and after the KU football game, which begins at 11 a.m., between Arkansas and Louisiana Streets from Sixth to Ninth streets. Depending on its success, fans might see the stands for a few more games. “However long the kids are willing to continue selling,” Crawford-Parker said.


gl0ck0wn3r 8 years, 8 months ago

Can anyone ballpark how much they are hoping to make in donations? It might motivate some people to donate even if they aren't at the game.

alm77 8 years, 8 months ago

I am so glad to hear about this!! I have taught my kids "Don't touch the walls!" This sounds awesome!

ralphralph 8 years, 8 months ago

Good luck with having people "respect" the new walls. Reality check = you need to make the walls pretty much indestructable and perhaps cleanable,or heartbreak awaits.

angelwatcher 8 years, 8 months ago

" 4 sure a city prblem " Why do we have to subject our children with the city's responsibelities!!!!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 8 months ago

Toe: Ewwww.

I'm stuck between "this is great!" and "this sucks". I'm imagining my girl walking through there with no lights and unsavory people and/or their bodily fluids. Not good.

Lauren427 8 years, 8 months ago

Marion: They are raising funds for the small portion that the city isn't paying ;)

TNPlates 8 years, 8 months ago

Toe knows of what he speaks - on multiple occasions there has been human excrement in that tunnel as children walk to school. Not a pretty sight/site.

The tunnel also floods during heavy rains, as leave and other debris clogs the small drains. Wading through 5 inches of water on the way to school is not a good way to start the day - for kids or their parents. Hopefully, the city can help with the essentials, but it will be great if the Pinckney folks can spruce it up, too.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 8 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…"Can't fix the streets, can buy the Farmland property, can spend a million or so to fix up a ratty old train station...." "Only in Looneyville."

All this from a Wyandotte County sycophant and his bankruptcy club?

tlagaly 8 years, 8 months ago

As lead designer behind this project, we will be addressing every technical aspect as well as maintenance and safety. The design wont work if it wont be somewhat indestructible. The school is doing a really big favor in helping us generate funds for the 20% portion of the bill we have to provide. Lets look at this optimistically and hope for the best. Even if it turns into a simple renovation it would still be better than the current situation. If its a space that people enjoy then maybe it wont fall into such disrepair again.

svenway_park 8 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the helpful information tlagaly.

Unfortunately, Marion and his incompetent architect friend tend to use this forum to deceive people and slam anyone trying to improve the community. You can ignore them. Neither one owns a home in Lawrence either.

I will be buying some of that lemonade.

svenway_park 8 years, 8 months ago

This is probably just another project that a particular incompetent architect was not awarded. Is it really any surprise?

tlagaly 8 years, 8 months ago

We're always open to any criticism, we need comments from locals to improve upon our design. We'll be in contact with architects and engineers to develop all of the mechanisms that will be in play as well as creating a cleanable surface with low maintenance and power consumption. This definitely isn't some weekend project. I'm just glad this is creating a response and that people are checking it out. They can choose to support it or not.

tomatogrower 8 years, 8 months ago

angelwatcher (Anonymous) says… ” 4 sure a city prblem ” Why do we have to subject our children with the city's responsibelities!!!!

With all the tax abatements they give to companies who bail after the abatement time is up, it's a wonder we have streets at all.

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