Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
The 21st Century One-Room Schoolhouse project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$7,059 pledged of $50,000 goal
backers
By Lee David Ahlborn
$7,059 pledged of $50,000 goal
backers

About this project

This is a design project with a public mission, the goal being to create a community space open for educational use by local groups and individuals. But it's going to start with a question and a tabula rasa, in this case a gutted timber-framed, post-and-beam outbuilding.

Here's what the 256 sq. ft. structure looks like currently:

South-facing view
South-facing view
Eastern exposure
Eastern exposure
Entryway
Entryway
View from doorway
View from doorway
View from back
View from back

My students and I will research what the inside of this shell might have looked like in order to restore it with historical fidelity. There are restrictive easements that cover the whole Randall-Winsor Farm property, so one of the defining design challenges for this project will be "retro"-fitting the space using (semi-)original floor plans, reclaimed materials (e.g. the barnboards and beams visible in the photographs), and, where possible and appropriate, period furnishings. However, we will simultaneously retrofit it with current technologies and anticipate ways that it might be further updated in the future.

Using a free iPad app, I generated one scale model for what the renovated space might look like:

Imagine a recording space in the smaller room with a podium for more formal presentations and room (you don't need much!) for a green screen backdrop. Again, this is only one of hundreds of possibilities to be researched by the students and decided upon by backers.

Here are the projected financials:

I foresee a schedule looking something like this:

January- June: research challenge, synthesize approaches, ideate and render designs

March (Spring Break): dig trench for conduit; replace roof and any rotten widow trim or clapboards; prep for paint

June: frame interior spaces; electrify; insulate; install wallboard; install heating (wood stove?); paint exterior

July: paint interior walls and trim; install new floor

August: install security system; equip; OPEN!

While this schedule will take us through a rigorous design process inspired by teaching materials provided by IDEO, and while the process itself will be enormously educative and edifying, this Kickstarter proposal will yield a highly practical outcome: a functional multi-media laboratory for use by the local community. While I cannot predict where this complex and recursive process will take my students, I anticipate that their research will validate current trends in education: authentic critical thinking and problem solving, innovative uses of new and emergent technologies, local and global collaboration, and the creative production of new ideas rather than the passive consumption of received information.

Who might avail themselves of a space dedicated to the pursuit of those goals? The possibilities are endless: local teachers-in-training who want to produce highest-quality instructional materials for their classes or digital portfolios; the under-resourced elementary school down the street that wants to give its students the opportunity to tele-conference with schools across the globe; community groups that want free access to the production and editing capabilities to promote their causes through web-based infomercials or PSA's.

In other words, this is a finite design project with the potential for considerable and lasting impact on the immediate community and beyond. So thank you again so much for your consideration!

Risks and challenges

There are a number of practical matters I have taken into consideration:

• My lawyer is optimistic that a zoning variance is feasible to permit limited public access to the facility. Since the building is small, use of it should not create significant issues with traffic patterns, parking, or noise.

• The Rhode Island Historical and Preservation Commission has consented to the project, but foresees some structural limitations to the updates. For example, the rafters are spaced too far apart to support solar panels to code, and the Commission has said that the additional framing required would alter the structure too fundamentally. Therefore, we will need to electrify the space from the panel in the main house. I will secure necessary building permits and hire licensed contractors for the work that we can't do, but I do hope that my students will also gain hands-on experience in wiring and carpentry through the experience.

• I will, of course, need to modify my home and umbrella insurance coverage. I feel that I can sustain the premium increase and higher utility rates. However, I will also need to escrow several thousand dollars to dedicate to the repair and replacement of any equipment and to the maintenance and upkeep of the building.

• My existing home security system will need to be expanded to include the outbuilding. A smart system will allow me to keep track of comings and goings remotely.

• I do not envision plumbing the schoolhouse, but I can put a composting toilet in the root cellar of the nearby corn crib for the convenience of people using the space.

Of course, ultimately, I want this space to be used actively by interested members of the community. After the project is completed, I will need to coordinate its use through some kind of sign-up and supervisory system with participating individuals and organizations. I am committed to offering this redesigned space to non-profits who share my educational mission to benefit under-served students; it will never be used to generate revenue.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A personal thank you note and a link to pictures of the project week-to-week as it unfolds.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    $1 incentives, plus the opportunity to vote on the final building plan and a monthly newsletter updating you on the progress of the project.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    $10 incentives plus a link to a professional videographer's documentation of our work on the project.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    $20 incentives, plus a signed print of a student artist's rendering of the plans for the space. To comply with school policy, I ask that people currently doing business with Wheeler limit their gifts to this level.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    $50 incentives plus your name displayed prominently in the lobby area of the renovated schoolhouse, proving just how effective crowd-funding can be!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    $100 incentives plus an invitation to a gala opening and a bound history of the Randall-Winsor Farm.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    $500 incentives plus a beautiful framed watercolor of the schoolhouse.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    $100 incentives plus naming rights. I will fly you to a ribbon cutting. You will stay as my guest for the weekend at the historic farmhouse and enjoy the fruits of my garden and my real avocation: gourmet dining.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)