SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A local Springfield homeless campground has a new accessible cabin thanks to students from Drury University.
Revive 66 is an overnight-stay campground for the homeless, ran by volunteers with The Gathering Tree, a nonprofit organization that also operates Eden Village. Revive 66 is located near Chestnut Expressway and West Bypass, offering laundry facilities, snacks and coffee to residents.
Traci Sooter, director of the Design-Build program at Drury University, said what sets this cabin apart is its focus on innovation.
“Students are able to take the things they’re learning in the classroom and apply them in the real world,” Sooter said. “While folks are waiting to get a permanent home they need a shelter on days where the weather is too harsh.”
The design for this project was inspired by Thomas Kinkade’s painting “Christmas Miracle.” Drury Political Science students worked with the Architecture students on the shelter project, by providing research about how certain policies and laws impact people who are homeless.
This is Sooter’s fourth project collaborating with The Gathering Tree. Previously her and her students have worked on a tiny house for Eden Village and have contributed two campers for Revive 66. Work on the cabin first began in October.
Sooter said students found a need in the community and stepped up to fulfill this need, bringing an insulated, heated cabin that’s both wheelchair accessible and can accommodate couples.
“That’s one of the more important things they are learning, not just architecture or political science but that we as human beings should give back to our communities,” Sooter said.
Cody Lewis, an Architecture Major at Drury, said students including himself not only designed the cabin but did most of the work constructing everything but the roof, along with some guidance from local contractors.
Lewis said he wasn’t expecting the drafting project of the cabin would lead to something the class would be building themselves.
“I think it’s really humbling to be able to help the homeless population in Springfield, especially because that’s one of the populations I’m more connected to,” Lewis said. “One of my close friends was homeless at one point… so (I’m) really just trying to do anything I can to help people that are less fortunate, because you don’t really realize how good you have it until you see some of the conditions other people are living in.”
Sooter said the design of the cabin itself had an emphasis on comfort, conveying the message to anyone who stays in the cabin overnight that somebody cared about them while making it.
“Two less people are going to sleep outside tonight,” Sooter said. “It’s raining, and it’s cold, and that’s a big deal. And the students now realize that, that someone is going to sleep in a place that’s warm and safe tonight.”