Interior Design Students Create Plan for Local Grief Counseling Center

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    Interior design students present their design plans for local grief counseling center Jamie's Place. (Courtesy photo)
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    Students' presentations for the director of Jamie's Place included a space plan and furniture selections. (Courtesy photo)
Oct. 11, 2016

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Media contact: Terry Goodrich, (254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Oct. 11, 2016) – The environment can have a big impact on people’s emotions, interior design students learned through a class project to create an interior design plan for a local grief counseling center.

Michelle Brown, senior lecturer in family and consumer sciences and interior design technology coordinator, assigned students in her Studio III class, a senior-level course that focuses on commercial interior design, to research local grief counseling center, Jamie’s Place, and create an original interior design plan the center could use.

Jamie’s Place was created to support children who have experienced the death of a family member or friend through support groups, education and community outreach. The program does not have a permanent location.

“Currently they meet in the Baylor Scott and White McClinton Cancer Center,” Brown said. “The director, Michelle King, has written a grant for funding to finish out a space at the Hillcrest MacArthur Building.”

To prepare for the project, each team of students took measurements at the proposed site, interviewed King on what types of spaces Jamie’s Place would need, researched grief support groups and developed goals. The teams also provided design boards that included a space plan as well as perspectives of the proposed spaces and furniture selections, and they provided a booklet with a concept, drawings and specifications for the furniture and finishes.

“The research behind this project opened my eyes to understand the best ways to design the bereavement clinic, as well as the emotional state of those going through bereavement,” said Kristen Schulze, one of the interior design students who participated in the project. “It was something I thought I knew about, but the scope of knowledge I gained surpassed my expectations.”

The students’ presentations provided the director of Jamie’s Place with ideas for designing the space at the Hillcrest MacArthur Building if the grant goes through.

“It was evident that our class put much more thought and effort into this project because it is a local project,” Schulze said. “We understood that people from our personal community would be using this space, and I believe it truly inspired us to put our best foot forward on the design.”

Last spring, senior interior design students completed a similar project for the Baylor Scott and White McClinton Cancer Center Infusion Suite. King is also on the staff at the cancer center, so she sat in on these presentations and was so impressed with the students’ work that she contacted Brown to ask if this semester’s students might do a similar project for Jamie’s Place.

“Working with an actual client gives the students practice with interviewing and developing a program,” Brown said. “It also gets them excited about the possibility that their design could be implemented. It is not just a hypothetical class project.”

Schulze said having a practical project that could have a real impact on the community also helped motivate her to put more thought into the project.

“Designing for a cause is much more rewarding than designing something because it will ‘look nice,’” Schulze said.

by Kalli Damschen, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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