March 16, 2004 – Looking proudly at the new information kiosk for the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus on Tuesday, LaVerne Ragster, UVI president, said: "When I first became president, someone told me if I wanted to 'do something nice,' I could get kiosks built on both campuses."
On Tuesday morning, Ragster cut the blue ribbon officially putting the information center in business.
The kiosk has already been getting attention. A UVI public relations staff member said that taxis regularly stop by for passengers to take a look-see. "We've had 30 people come up to take a look," he said. "They all want to see what's going on."
The blue and white structure holds a 43" by 72" inch map which tells viewers just about anything they would need to know to navigate the sprawling campus. Pat O'Donnell, UVI capital projects director, said the map was created digitally, so it can be updated as need be. "We developed it in different sizes so we can use it for handouts, as well," she said
The map has unique features. "If you're coming here at night — to go to a lecture, say, or play that's down at the Little Theatre — a light sensor will come on at night and direct you to your destination," O'Donnell pointed out.
The kiosk nearing completion on the St. Croix campus not only dispenses directions, but collects water to be used for irrigation. It's built on an angle, and the roof drains into a 20,000-gallon cistern beneath the structure. Peter Abrahams said when he heard about the kiosk, he took it as a " perfect opportunity for energy conservation."
Accompanying Ragster on Tuesday, and looking equally proud, were architects Donna and Robert de Jongh, who designed both kiosks, and Elroy Jeffers, who found and installed the St. Thomas structure's unusual octagonal tiles.
Ragster thanked Jeffers for his efforts, "They look so nice — and they are the only tiles like this here," she said.
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