The Making of RIC's New Bus Shelter: Dedication on Nov. 14

Rendering of design plan for The Keefe Transportation Center

Rendering of design plan for The Keefe Transportation Center

Three years ago RIC busriders requested a bus shelter.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo not only obtained the shelter for them, she made the building a collaborative work of art. 

“Because the shelter would be situated at the entry way to the college,” Carriuolo said, “I felt it should reflect the college rather than be the standard RIPTA shelter.”

Carriuolo approached Richard Gouse, president of the New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), to ask if his students would be interested in coming up with design plans for the building. She suggested it be framed as a competition. Her idea was met with enthusiasm. About 15 to 20 NEIT students in two studio design classes took on the project.

“In the past, the plans our students created stayed on paper,” said Ron Stevenson, NEIT adjunct instructor and architect for Saccoccio & Associates. “The excitement behind this project was that it could be built.” 

The students took a trip to RIC and measured the wind direction at the site, they studied the architectural styles of the buildings on campus, they researched the history of the college in the library’s archives and eventually presented their completed designs before a RIC panel.

The panel consisted of RIC alum Aaron Buckley ’12; Vice President for Administration and Finance Bill Gearhart; Assistant Vice President for Administration and Finance Don Tencher; and Carriuolo.

At the top of the page is the rendering that was ultimately selected by the panel.

“The roof was meant to symbolize wings,” said Stevenson, “and the windows have colored mosaic panels made of high-impact plastic. They’re designed to provide basic visibility but are opaque enough to give privacy. As light passes through, the color is reflected on other surfaces. These panels can also be removed and replaced with art panels designed by RIC students.”

Once the rendering was approved, Saccoccio & Associates applied the final touches. “We made it buildable and affordable,” said Stevenson. The Rhode Island Public Transporation Authority also made adjustments to the plan, adding doors to each end of the building.

RIC’s Capital Projects Group, headed by interim director Kevin Fitta, took over construction, which began in June 2012.

A large part of the funding for the project came from generous donations from private entities, said Carriuolo.

On Nov. 14 the shelter will be officially dedicated and named The Keefe Transportation Center, after the deceased mother of John Smith, Class of 63, past president of the RIC Foundation, and major donor of this project. The dedication begins at 11 a.m. Thereafter, RIC students will be able to wait for transportation inside a work of art.