Architecture students from Northampton Community College (NCC) gave Nazareth, a town established in 1740, a modern urban makeover -- on a tiny scale.
Community Design Studio is the capstone class for the second-year students, who put their classroom knowledge to the test in a real-world setting.
After countless hours of meetings with local officials, business owners and property owners, the students presented their big ideas for Nazareth’s businesses and urban gateways during an open house Wednesday night.
Erin Miller and Josephine Velázquez transformed the intersection where Routes 191 and 248 meet S. Green Street, near the Rite Aid and Sunoco gas station.
Miller and Velázquez worked hard to make the intersection pedestrian friendly. Miller said the intersection itself would be made from a different surface than the road, and there would be a slight grade where cars enter the intersection. These features, Miller explained, work together to slow speeds.
There were also several pedestrian islands that act as a safe-haven for people who need extra time to make it across the street.
At the next major intersection, at Routes 191 and 248 -- which is currently waiting for a new left-turn arrow -- Alex Porter and Rameez Badar utilized some of the same features, with a different surface for the intersection, islands for pedestrians, better access to the Pizza Hut, and plenty of trees.
Daniel Thierry, chairman of the Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce, grabbed the business card for Chris Derhammer, who did a parking study.
“We know there’s a problem with parking, but he’s got numbers,” Thierry said enthusiastically, adding that he would like to present Derhammer’s findings and suggestions to Nazareth Borough Council.
Thierry is also a member of the borough’s Economic Development Commission.
Ken Trionfo, associate professor of the architecture program and a Nazareth resident, said his students switch communities each year.
In 2007, his students were in Nazareth and that’s when the Nazareth Center for the Arts started taking shape.
“The Nazareth Center for the Arts was a student project,” Trionfo said. “That was created out of drawings and a model, and it was presented to Nazareth Borough Council.”
Last fall, city officials unveiled plans to build a 1,000-space parking deck and bus station. Construction is expected to cost between $17 million and $25 million.
Also at Wednesday night's open house were second-year interior design students, led by Dan Ebner, who showed off their ideas for the Nazareth Diner.
The building is receiving a major overhaul. Pete Theo, owner of the diner and a graduate of NCC's culinary arts program, talked to the students about his vision -- old-school diner concept in the front of the building, “and something more new and trendy in the back" -- and the students went to work.
The students’ design plan is their final practical before graduation.