Monday, October 7, 2013

Who Is Phil Mevert

          Born and raised in Steeleville, IL (33 miles NW of Carbondale) I have been interested in Architecture since the first grade. In high school I developed as a pretty good distance runner and wanted to try running in college. Although I had a few scholarship offers from some NAIA and Division III private colleges the cost of the schools were still too much with the scholarships since those schools are not allowed to give full athletic scholarships. Ultimately I decided the best option for me was to attend Junior College and decided to attend Rend Lake College in Ina, IL (about 10 miles south of Mt. Vernon on I-57) mainly because they were one of the few Junior colleges in the area that had a cross country and track program, not to mention a pretty good Architecture program as well. 
          My freshman year (2006-2007), while it turned out to be the only year I ran for Rend Lake was a successful one. The cross country team won National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship, this was the fourth National title in cross country for Rend Lake but the first since the NJCAA combined Divisions I & II. During indoor track I was disappointed as I missed qualifying for nationals by about 15 seconds in the 5k (3.1miles) run but was still glad I had come that close. By outdoor season I was starting to wear down a bit since I had never run that much in a year before and I was competing in the longest races, I ran the 5k and 10k (6.2mi. or 25 laps around the track). At the end of the year I was not offered a scholarship even though only 3 members of the National Championship cross country team remained and decided it was best for me to retire and focus on school. 
          Now on to the interesting part of my experience at Rend Lake. Even though in high school I worked for an Architecture firm in my home town called Mevert Professional Associates(MPA) (My Uncle owned the firm) washing the company cars, I never was that exposed to the architecture profession. The high school I attended was a small school and only offered one semester of drafting and no AutoCad classes. Rend Lake became my real first exposure to architecture. I am glad I went the route of Junior College as I believe it was a light introduction to architecture and help to prepare me for SIU even though it was lacking in the design aspect of Architecture. During my second year at Rend Lake MPA had a need for a second draftsman and hired me on as part time.  I was able to learn a lot while working and going to school at Rend Lake. The first project that I really got to work on was for a new High School in Pinckneyville, IL. The preliminary design of this project started at the beginning of 2008 and I was asked to help develop 2 options for how to construct a new building around the main existing building and attaching to the existing gymnasium and industrial arts building to the south of the main building. This project did not take off right away because of funding.  So when I started school at SIU later that fall my work on the project became limited. I continued to work for MPA periodically during semesters and breaks while attending SIU. During the summer between my junior and senior year at SIU was the first summer break I was able to work full time for MPA and I gained a lot of experience with on-site observation for a few different projects that were under construction over the summer break, since most of our clients were school districts most of the construction work was done over the summer when the kids were not there.  It was around this time also that the plans for the new Pinckneyville High School were starting to really develop and they ended up choosing to go with the partial two story option I had helped design. Over the winter break between my last two undergraduate semesters was when the final portion of design development for the school was completed and we had a ground breaking ceremony in February of 2011. During the spring semester of my senior year I began working two full days a week (since I only had classes three days a week) and most weekends for MPA to help finish up the construction documents for the new high school. However in April the owner of MPA was killed in an accident and the firm was forced to close the doors as he was the only license in the firm.  FGM Architects took over the remainder of the construction drawings for the new high school in Pinckneyville and the construction started on time that summer and the project finished in time to start the 2012-2013 school year.
            I applied to the graduate program at SIU to start summer directly after my undergraduate but did not make the cut. Luckily for me a local firm in Carbondale, Image Architects decided to hire me on full time right after graduation. Some of the projects I have worked on there are a new Judicial Center for Washington County in Nashville, IL, a Chapel Addition for the Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau, MO and an Elementary Addition for Shawnee School District in Wolf Lake, IL. The Judicial Center and Chapel addition are both finishing up construction and the Elementary School is just now starting construction and should be finished by the start of next school year. After working there for two years I decided to go back to school and get my master degree, I am still working part time for Image Architects while completing my masters. For my thesis I am focusing on Elementary Education which I will introduce in my next blog post.

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