Drafting students hit the road, view architecture from 1900s to now


All buildings begin with an idea, followed by sketches, drafts, and finally blueprints. But the final result of the process can be hard to picture from a classroom.

That’s why Seward County Community College drafting and design instructor Manuel Bustillos plans field trips for his students. This year, scheduling dictated a trip in the last weeks of the semester. With graduation right around the corner, Bustillos and two members of the program’s advisory board loaded the van and headed east to Wichita. 

“Greg Soelter of GBS Enterprises set it up for us, along with former instructor Steve Merz,” said Bustillos. “We appreciate it so much, because the experience was so important for our students.”

The trip covered more than miles: it also exposed the students to more than a century of architectural design, from the 1900s to the present. First stop was SPT Architecture, a firm that recently moved its headquarters to the old Greyhound Bus Building in downtown Wichita.

“It’s full of all kinds of architectural and historical significance, and it gave the students an overview of day-to-day life in an architecture firm, against the backdrop of history,” Bustillos said. “The tour was excellent. It exposed them to what it means to be in a real architecture firm. We talked about the company culture, which operates on a flexible schedule — sometimes people will be there working through the night, and then take time off during the day, for example.” 

Students viewed completed projects like a large Catholic Church, and learned about the details of photographing the completed building to its best advantage with light engineering. The SPT tour also addressed sound engineering for various environments, from the Warren Theater to real-world offices that require confidentiality, provided by white noise machines.  

From there, the group visited the Allen House, designed by legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. 

“It’s just very impressive, breathtaking,” said Bustillos. “Greg was gracious enough to pay admission for all the students, and they were fascinated by different details in the Allen House.” For example, Bustillo noted, the home was built before the introduction of refrigeration, so a small trap door allowed the delivery of ice to the kitchen. At the same time, the “father of modern design,” included revolutionary elements in the home. 

Bustillos, who recalls his childhood love of drawing and imagination on paper, said the tour recalled the feeling of possibility and discovery. While he has visited the Allen House many times, the renovated space at SPT was a fresh opportunity.

“Some of our students come to the drafting program and know exactly where they’re headed, while others are more exploratory,” he said. “With tours like this, we get them thinking about all the different careers and avenues you can take. You can go into manufacturing and build things alongside the machine and welding people, or you can go into architecture or civil engineering, deal with things of the land, roads and bridges. The possibilities are amazing.”

For the five students who attended the field trip, graduation will mark the beginning of the next stage of their journey. Bustillos hopes the two sites opened their eyes to all the opportunities ahead. 

At SCCC, the same holds true: with his peers in manufacturing, welding, and machine tool technology, Bustillos hopes to schedule more trips in the fall. 

“I’d like to encourage student research about potential sites, and give them some input,” he said, listing various civil and manufacturing destinations. “The goal is to get them out into the world to see where they can go and what they can do.” 

For information about the drafting and design program, which is enrolling students for the Fall 2023 semester, contact Bustillos at 620-417-1679 or Industrial Technology Division Coordinator Candice Olson at 620-417-1652.



Categories: Industrial Technology Division, Partnerships, Student experience

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