New HCC fire science building gets murals prior to open house

By Ryan Christner
Hutchinson News – April 27, 2015

Lowen Corporation employees Ryan Gervickas and John Pavlovcic work on applying a vinyl wrap to the Fire Science Training Center building Monday, April 16, 2015. Photos by Travis Morisse.

Lowen Corporation employees Ryan Gervickas and John Pavlovcic work on applying a vinyl wrap to the Fire Science Training Center building Monday, April 16, 2015. Photos by Travis Morisse.

The Hutchinson Community College Fire Science Building has new murals on the front of the building seen Wednesday morning, April 22, 2015.

The Hutchinson Community College Fire Science Building has new murals on the front of the building seen Wednesday morning, April 22, 2015.

Jordan Legan, from Fairfax, Va., demonstrates to a group of firefighters on how to hold the hose while fighting a fire during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center.

Jordan Legan, from Fairfax, Va., demonstrates to a group of firefighters on how to hold the hose while fighting a fire during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center.

Josh Schmidt, South Metro, Colo., and Jordan Legan, Fairfax, Va., demonstrate a tactic on how to attack a fire as a team with the fire hose during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center.

Josh Schmidt, South Metro, Colo., and Jordan Legan, Fairfax, Va., demonstrate a tactic on how to attack a fire as a team with the fire hose during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center.

Mitch Sprague, Lafayette, Colo., practices with a fire hose during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center.

Mitch Sprague, Lafayette, Colo., practices with a fire hose during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center.

Aaron Fields talks to firefighter during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center. Fields has developed time saving tactics to help firefighters attack a fire.

Aaron Fields talks to firefighter during a training session Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the fire training center. Fields has developed time saving tactics to help firefighters attack a fire.

Firefighters are conditioned to put out fires. Hutchinson Community College’s newly built fire science training center, however, has been putting them on.
Early this week, a team of workers finished installing a series of firefighting scenes across the facade of the building, which on Sunday will be officially dedicated during an open house.
“I have a lot of respect for firefighters,” said Bob Bush, a former City Council member and brainchild of the project to affix the pictures to the building. Along with his wife, Ann, and son Jack, Bush said the cost of the project was split roughly equally between his family and the college, with an “incredibly generous” pricing package on the material from Matt Lowen, president and CEO of Hutchinson graphic design company Lowen Corporation.
“I just thought this was something that I could have an impact on and support firefighters for what they do,” Bush said.
Construction of the building, located along East Fourth Avenue on the Hutchinson Fire Department training grounds just west of Hutchinson Regional Airport, was completed in December 2014.
While the program will still utilize the former site on the HCC south campus near Yoder, everything that needs to be moved over to the new location has been, according to Carter File, president of the college.
“I think it looks terrific,” File said of the finished product. “I think it gives that building a lot of character and will certainly attract people’s attention to that building and what we’re doing.”
That’s exactly what Bush had in mind when he devised the project. As it was, the building was nice, he said, but also “a little boring” with its large stretches of gray corrugated metal siding.
Bush said he wanted to do something that would add a “cool factor” and catch people’s eye as they drove into town.
Now, “One of the first things you’re going to see is this new fire science building with these big, cool graphics,” he said.
According to Hutchinson Fire Chief Kim Forbes, the project pairs well with the Hutchinson Fire Department’s recent efforts to add more photographic artwork inside its training center next door.
“It was amazing that he wanted to put money into that project,” Forbes said of Bush. “I appreciate the fact that he’s interested in it and realizes the potential that site has” in attracting talented students from throughout the region.
Co-owner with his wife of City Beverage, Bush was familiar with the material after working with liquor stores in town to apply picture-quality graphics onto the walls of their businesses. Darren Keller, vice president of sales and marketing for Lowen’s Color Graphics Division, said it is a vinyl product by 3M with a pressure-sensitive adhesive on the back.
After a panel comprised of Bush, File, Lowen, Forbes and HCC Fire Science Coordinator Bobby White selected the images that now adorn the building – a collection of photographs depicting both HCC fire science students and Hutchinson firefighters in action, as well as a large stock photo – Keller’s staff took the digital files and used large-format digital presses to print the pictures onto the vinyl.
The material was then applied to the building over the past two weeks by workers from Texas certified through Lowen. Due to the building’s corrugated sides, the job required more finesse than his local team can provide, Keller said.
“It was a little bit of a challenge; it wasn’t just a smooth surface,” Keller said. But the finished product helps disguise the uneven texture, he added.
The picture panels were given an ultraviolet overlaminate for long-term durability. The vinyl comes with a seven-year warranty from 3M, Keller said, and can be replaced at any point during that time for any failure. And picture quality should remain high throughout, and even beyond, the warranty period, Keller added.
“It’ll start to fade after a few years but you won’t be able to tell, it’ll be so subtle,” he said.
Referring to the same material put up on a Hutchinson liquor store one year ago, Bush said it “looks like it was made yesterday.”
One possibility for the future could be to change out the images over time. Such a scenario would “keep it interesting,” Bush said, adding that it is his personal opinion that he wouldn’t like to see the same pictures on the building 20 years from now.
He especially hopes that one day a photo of local firefighters can be taken that fits the long, horizontal space currently occupied by the dramatic, but generic, stock image.
Since purchasing a statue displayed during the Hutchinson SculptureWalk a couple of years ago and donating it to the city – it’s placed outside the Hutchinson Public Library – the Bush family has had a passion for public displays of art. Whether its the creation of a statue or mural, or by printing large photographs and sticking them on a building, Bush just hopes residents make an effort to consider how they can improve the look of their community.
“I think we can brighten up our city and we can do something that has a positive impact,” he said. “I think that’s something we need to do more of, if we can.”



%d bloggers like this: