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Auburn University

September 21, 2011

In the fall of 2010, the Elmore County Economic Development Authority approached the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture for help envisioning design options for a new interpretive center at the site of a five-mile wide meteor impact crater in Wetumpka, Alabama.  Today the remains of this crater create one of the only accessible ocean impact craters in the world, and the ECEDA hopes the facility will one day become part of a “trail” of science and space related attractions that would begin the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Sixty second-year architecture students, under the direction of Professors Justin Miller, Ryan Salvas, Bob Faust, and Robert Sproull developed design proposals for the facility as part of an annual competition sponsored by the Alabama Forestry Association and the City of Wetumpka.  The students’ designs were judged by a panel of architects and special guests from Elmore County who included Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis.  The winning model, belonging to student Ryan Zimmerman, was unveiled at a press conference and reception at the City of Wetumpka Administration Building on August 23.

The City of Wetumpka and ECEDA are currently working with Auburn University Montgomery’s Center for Government to complete various grant applications for the project and hope to break ground on the crater center by January 1, 2015.

Andrew Freear, Wiatt Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture and Director of the Rural Studio, was included in the Oxford American’s ”The Most Creative Teachers in the South” (August 2011, Issue 74).

One of thirteen educators chosen from throughout the region, Freear was included among “Influential educators admired by their students and colleagues, whose classrooms serve as forums for social change, whose homes become their classroom, and in some cases, whose assignments become homes.”

Professor Christian Dagg, Associate Professor and Program Chair of the Interior Architecture program, has been named Acting Head of the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture while Professor David Hinson completes a sabbatical leave.

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