DYER | When hospital officials wanted to show employees and the community what was happening beyond the construction barriers at the Franciscan St. Margaret Health hospital Emergency Department in Dyer, they turned to a high-tech center in Hammond.
The Center for Innovation Through Visualization & Simulation, also known as CIVS and located on the Purdue University Calumet campus, is a source for companies searching for solutions to problems or needs.
Students are put on teams to tackle issues posed to them, from energy inefficiencies to industrial equipment longevity.
Dan Ratko, the hospital's project manager for construction, reached out to the center to develop a virtual tour video and web-based interactive virtual environment for its under-construction Emergency Department expansion.
The goal was to have an end product for demonstrations and promotion, something to show people the completed design.
"It just looks like construction from the outside," Ratko said.
Franciscan has partnered with the center before on projects, including a virtual nursery, active threat scenario and lab design optimization.
Ratko worked in the center when he was a student at Purdue Cal, so he knows how it can benefit Franciscan, he said.
"We're using the resources we have right in our community with a lot of the students who grew up right here," he said.
In this case, the hospital provided plans and architectural drawings and met with the students to discuss the project.
Crown Point resident Lucas Phillips, who recently earned a second master's degree at Purdue Cal, worked with fellow student Yunpeng Chang on the Emergency Department project.
Phillips, whose main interest is in 3-D modeling for video games, said the project was not particularly difficult, but it was time consuming to ensure the details, such as lighting, were correct.
Aside from health care, the center's project list includes the fields of construction, engineering, manufacturing and transportation, among others, said Doreen Gonzalez-Gaboyan, manager of outreach and development for the center.
Since 2009, the center has saved companies $30 million by solving problems. More than 80 external organizations, from McDonald's to U.S. Steel, have worked with the center, she said.