ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – When you drive by the construction site of Hardin-Simmons University’s (HSU) future engineering program, it may look like any other regular building. However, inside the walls, they are designing a unique and interactive way of learning. 

This building is set to be complete in 2023, so there’s still a lot of construction to undergo, but most of the pipes and infrastructure seen on the ceiling will remain exposed for the engineering students to look, learn from and absorb every day.

“They’re constantly engaged with this, so it’s always familiar to them,” said HSU’s Construction Manager, Andrew Briscoe. 

Briscoe told KTAB/KRBC his team also created a spot where clear glass covers the brick from the inside, showing the wall construction.  

Although they are working hard to ensure the students have a unique experience, this is not new to HSU. 

“Every building that Hardin-Simmons builds is designed with the in-user in mind,” explained Briscoe. 

The Houston Lantrip Center was also designed to aid the children inside, even down to the textures on the walls and colors of the room. 

“We used the blues in here,” Briscoe exhibited. “Blue is a calming color.” He says the textured walls help the children with tactile or sensory needs.

Some chairs in the building were even designed for their benefit. Namely, a noise cancelling chair available.

This is helpful for many children with disabilities or special needs, including one of the children with whom Ashley Alwine works. 

“One of our individuals, who has high tactile sensory needs, really benefits from being able to feel the different textures on his hands,” Alwine explained. 

Children get excited about the different walls, according to Alwine.

“There’s some areas he likes more than others, so he’ll get excited and knock on it,” Alwine painted. “Then run to the other and knock on it.” 

Alwine, the Lead Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, also told KTAB/KRBC this is helpful for them to interact with before they have to get work done, helping calm and focus the children. 

Briscoe is hopeful that the interactive elements he is building in the engineering building will be as helpful for his engineering students as the Houston Lantrip Center is for the children inside. 

This building is predicted to be completed by the fall of 2023 – just in time for the new program to begin that semester.