In the dark hours of Oct. 4, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti as a Category 4 storm. Livestock were swept away. Crops were destroyed, and more than 200 houses were damaged. Tragically, more than 1,000 people lost their lives.
The hurricane blew ashore near a small village called Fond-des-Blancs, located in the southwestern part of the island. It is here where the College of Architecture and Design has a deep connection and devotion to the family-oriented community.
For the past six years John McRae, professor of Architecture, has led more than 70 students to design structures for the people of Fond-des-Blancs, including a medical facility, housing and a school, which was built in 2012.
Soon after, a roofing system for the school’s nearby sports fields was added, and last month during the hurricane, part of the roofing system was ripped off its foundations.
“The roof provides much-needed relief from the relentless sun for students and families attending sporting and community events,” said McRae. “Immediately after the storm, many alumni who had worked so closely with our Haitian friends over the years, as well as students currently designing projects for Haiti, began seeking information and asking how they can help.”
Although much is needed in Haiti, the college is focusing on raising $5,000 through the Haiti Hurricane Rebuild Project to purchase new building materials for the roofing system.
“Sometimes in the midst of devastation, good arises,” said McRae. “Our students are committed to this community and its people. Any amount anyone can give is greatly appreciated.”
Since 2010, students in McRae’s classes have committed their design ingenuity to solve multiple issues of health, safety and sustainability in Haiti. The first project, L’Exode Secondary School, offers a facility for students to get a quality education in a modern and safe environment and includes a cafeteria where students receive daily nutrition. The roofing system near the school, an additional design/build project, was an important resource for the community and students.
Roofing System during Construction and after Hurricane Matthew