UVA team 3D maps a Rosenwald School to help preserve African American history

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 7:02 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Rosenwald schools are places African American students gained an education during the Jim Crow mandates. Now, University of Virginia students and educators are working to preserve a piece of this history.

“This is a part of Virginia, national, and world history that has been unappreciated and undocumented in the past,” architect Jody Lahendro said.

Will Rourk teaches 3D cultural heritage informatics at UVA. He, Jody Lahendro, and a group of UVA students are mapping the Pine Grove Rosenwald school.

“I’m teaching students to collect 3D data in the field and then process the 3D data in the classroom,” Rourk said.

They use lasers to make digital versions of buildings with millimeter accuracy.

“I brought the students out there as one of their projects this year and we laser scanned the building thoroughly inside and out,” Rourk said.

Lahendro maps out the dimensions by hand and Rourk does the same in a digital sense.

“Everywhere the laser shoots out into space and hits a surface it creates a point in space, in 3D digital space,” Rourk said.

Each of those points come together to build a picture.

Rourk says once the data is fully processed, it will be added to the UVA library database for people to visit, virtually.

For people who want to visit in person, there’s more work to be done.

“The slate roof is original to the building and it is leaking badly, and it has caused structural damage,” Lahendro said.

Jody says donations are welcomed to turn Pine Grove into the structure it once was.

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