K-State’s Technology Development Institute Creates Digital Replica of Rural Kansas School

By Trish Svoboda

Through the collaborative efforts of two partners at K-State 105, the Innovation Center in northwest Kansas, and the Technology Development Institute (TDI) at Kansas State University’s Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, the Memorial School Building in Hill City may find new purpose as a focal point in the town’s revitalization.

The building originally served as a high school and later as Longfellow Middle School until its closure in 2009, as stated in a release.

In support of the rural housing initiative backed by the Innovation Center in northwest Kansas, TDI utilized its NavVis VLX digital scanning system to generate a precise ‘digital twin’ of the dormant school building.

Bret Lanz, commercialization director for TDI, explained that older buildings often lack detailed plans, and creating traditional methods of new plans is costly and time-consuming, especially for rural communities that may have limited access to resources.

With the NavVis system, TDI efficiently scanned the entire facility, inside and out, in just four hours, capturing images and dimensional data accurate to 5 millimeters.

These digital replicas, known as “digital twins,” include the first phase of repurposing aged structures to address housing shortages. “Through the K-State 105 initiative we have been able to expand our partnerships and uses for our technology to assist rural communities in ways that we had not previously imagined,” Lanz said. “By creating digital twin models of these buildings, we are enabling a larger number of developers to evaluate these opportunities with the ultimate goal of creating additional housing in these rural areas.”

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