You Say Pack Rat, I Say Re-Purposer

by Curt Kovener 

Some people may see the contents of my garage, barn and sheds and say I am a pack rat. But I save things that could be re-purposed into other useful lives.

For instance, old kitty litter pails are re-purposed to hold sunflower seed for the birds and dog food as they are mouse and Charley proof.

I re-use the paper I get from the courts  in my fax machine.

If you are a subscriber reading this column, your mailing label is printed on the back side of no longer made green bar computer paper.

But my re-purposing pales in comparison with Butler University.

You may remember the Hoosier Dome (or as it was last known, the RCA Dome) where the Indianapolis Colts played before Forest Lucas paid a handsome sum to name the new stadium. It is no longer a part of the Indy Skyline, deflated and torn down in 2008, but a portion of it has been repurposed by the Indy based Butler University.

The University has built a covered pavilion using fabric from the RCA Dome roof and recycled/re-purposed materials from other sources.

In all, 80-85 percent of the structure is made of reused material.

The pavilion will be used as a gathering spot for people coming to the campus farm, those using the intramural fields, as a distribution point to sell produce from the farm, and for educational classes.

Among the recycled/reused items in the structure, located west of campus at the Bulldogs’ athletic fields:

•The entire roof is architectural fabric salvaged by People for Urban Progress from the former RCA Dome. Working with architect Paul Puzzello, the roof design was based on the geometry of the vesica, a shape created by the intersection of two circles with the same diameter, seen in medieval art, architecture, and crop circles.

•The eight steel columns supporting the pavilion were formerly chain link columns supporting a Butler University baseball backstop.

•The concrete used for the foundation contain 20 percent fly ash, a combustion waste product created typically from the burning of coal in power generation and steel production.

•Wood members used in the structure are reclaimed timber framing from a former building. The members were re-fabricated for the project.

•The floor will be reclaimed bricks from a prior construction project on Butler’s campus.

I hope to travel to the Butler campus to see the work-in-progress pavilion next time I am in Indianapolis on business. Perhaps I will be inspired by what I see created by other packrats to save even more material for future re-use.

And I still think I will find a new use for that box of 5 1/4” floppy discs from my old Commodore 64 computer.