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OCC architecture students get vital support from Irvine firm’s gift of 50 refurbished laptops

Orange Coast College Architecture Professor Rose Anne Kings, right, receives laptops donated to students by design firm LPA.
Orange Coast College Architecture Professor Rose Anne Kings, right, receives 50 reconditioned laptops donated to students during an Aug. 12 visit to Irvine-based firm LPA.
(Courtesy of LPA Irvine)

After a year of learning the fundamentals of architecture remotely during the pandemic, a group of students at Orange Coast College was looking forward to getting back to in-person classes in the new school year, but there was just one problem.

Many of them didn’t have regular and reliable access to computers or were forced to work from old units that couldn’t support the programs they were accustomed to using on campus. In a discipline that relies heavily on computer-assisted animation and design software, the setback was a serious one.

Hoping to give students a leg up as they returned to campus for the first time in a year and a half, OCC’s Architecture Department reached out to the American Institute of Architects’ Orange County chapter to see if a local firm might be willing to assist students by donating some much-needed equipment.

Employees of Irvine-based firm LPA refurbished 50 decommissioned laptops for use by OCC architecture students in 2021-22.
Employees of Irvine-based design firm LPA recently refurbish 50 decommissioned laptops for use by Orange Coast College architecture students in the 2021-22 school year.
(Courtesy of LPA)

Irvine-based sustainable design architecture firm LPA answered the call.

Working with a grant from its charitable giving arm, the LPA Foundation, a team of 13 firm members secured the necessary computer hardware, parts, batteries and tools and then volunteered their time to refurbish the units.

Employees removed outdated batteries from decommissioned laptops and installed fresh ones, reset the computers to factory settings and installed the software OCC students would be using in their classes during the 2021-22 school year.

The reconditioned laptops were handed off Thursday during a visit to the Irvine firm. Orange Coast Architecture Professor Rose Ann Kings said the donation came just in time for students set to start classes on Monday.

“Many currently have either no access to laptops or have laptops that are incapable of running any design programs — these laptops will make a tremendous difference for them,” Kings said in an LPA news release Tuesday. “We are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to provide so many of them with the technology they need to succeed.”

Ozzie Tapia, an associate at LPA, said in the release his firm was honored to help reduce some of the financial burden that would otherwise have been borne by students who’ve already been impacted by the pandemic.

“It’s important to LPA to help mentor and support the next generation of architecture and engineering professionals,” Tapia stated.

The laptop donation is the latest project supported by the LPA Foundation. Team members previously packaged 12,744 meals for the local nonprofit Rise Against Hunger and helped construct homes for Habitat for Humanity’s international “Women’s Build Week.”

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