B-Section Community Hall Renovations Methodology

We began our work at the B-Section Community Hall by defining key objectives:

  • Research and understand current building techniques in Monwabisi Park.
  • Understand the impact community centers have and the resources they provide.
  • Collaborate with volunteers from the community to finalize designs for renovations.
  • Work alongside stakeholders to upgrade the functionality and security of the hall.

To address these objectives, we began by observing the existing physical conditions of the hall and discussing desired repairs with local residents. The Safe Node Area Committee (SNAC) is a leadership organization under the VPUU that meets regularly at the hall. We engaged in conversation with SNAC members and neighbors of the hall to learn about its function and history. Acquiring this knowledge was critical in understanding the importance of preserving and improving existing community spaces, such as this hall.

Once we familiarized ourselves with the conditions of the hall and learned what improvements were desired, we defined tasks to complete. These projects included repairing the roof, ceiling, doorframe, door lock, burglar gate, damaged floor, and gap in back wall, as well as building new benches, adding a second light socket, and installing a light switch near the door. We then developed our own ideas and designs to complete each task. Each design required obtaining accurate measurements in order to formulate design plans. Also, we planned the materials and tools that would be necessary to complete each portion of the project and determined which items could best be obtained in Monwabisi Park, and which would require purchase at a building supply store, a 10 minute drive away in Makhaza or Mitchell’s Plain. The WPI CTPC paid for all materials, tools, and construction costs.

With hopes of working closely with members of the community, our team planned to recruit volunteers to help with the design and construction processes. Upon commencing work, three men saw us when walking by the hall and inquired about our work. After talking with these men, they were eager to help and volunteered to work alongside us throughout the week-long renovation period. Before finalizing designs for each task, we shared our ideas with the volunteers and added their input. This method allowed everyone to gain a new perspective and allowed us to incorporate various building techniques and methods common in Monwabisi Park into our designs. For example, when we needed to cut zinc roofing sheets, instead of using tin snips, the volunteers demonstrated a creative solution using wire, which was both simpler and more efficient.


Cost Analysis [148 KB]