Engineering Student Assists Architects in Benilde Renovation Plans

Senior Kyle Schmitt drafts designs for the Benilde Hall renovations during Engineering Development and Design class in the engineering room. (Photo: Forge Mathes)

(COVINGTON, La.) Kyle Schmitt, a senior in St. Paul’s School’s Engineering Development and Design class, is contributing to the design process in anticipation of the Benilde Hall renovations, scheduled to start January 2018.

“I’m working on, from a student’s perspective, what kind of design would be most effective at St. Paul’s,” Schmitt said. “My job is to be the voice for students by taking surveys and then designing a structure that’s according to building code and meets a lot of people’s wants and needs. I get to design a structure, learn about the designing process of what physically has to be in buildings, and get to leave a permanent mark at St. Paul’s for the future.”

Schmitt will not be directly designing the building, but rather making suggestions to the architects.

“So far, they’ve taken a few of my ideas, maybe three,” Schmitt said. “They know what they’re doing, and this is just an internship for me to learn, but it’s a neat experience to see that ideas I come up with or get from the general student body can actually be incorporated into the final design.”

Schmitt’s contributions to the design include the element of a general lobby, the general design of a coffee shop, and a curved counter top.

For Schmitt, it’s a learning experience. He works under the direction of Principal Trevor Watkins with guidance from Civil Engineering teacher Rachel Peak.

“This is basically my own project,” Schmitt said. “I have to report to Mr. Watkins; he’s basically the only person above me. Mrs. Peak helps me understand the software I use called Revit, but a lot of it is just my own working of going on YouTube and looking up tutorials of how to do something. I just want to learn. Learning the building codes of what I can and cannot do and the reasons why, that’s what I really get out of this. I’m not really restrained by a teacher’s grade as much as just wanting to learn.”

Trees outside of Benilde Hall that would inhibit the renovations have already been marked to be cut down, and final preparations are set to take place as soon as students are released for Christmas break.

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