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WMU wins four interior design awards

Feb. 11, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Two Western Michigan University staff members brought home four awards from the 2008 Association of University Interior Designers annual design competition held this past fall.

The duo is made up of Sheri Harper, interior designer, and Eleonora Philopoulos, planner and estimator, both of whom work for physical plant-remodeling services.

"The competition is between fellow members' universities from all over the country," Harper says. "It's nice to be able to garner national recognition for WMU through our design activities."

Harper picked up a first place in the Renovation Over $150,000 Category for creating the new Haworth College of Business Career Center and a second place in the Renovation $50,000 to $150,000 Category for remodeling that college's student lounge.

Philopoulos took first place in the $50,000 to $150,000 Category for updating the Student Recreation Center's service desk and student lounge and received a third place in the Specialty Category for updating lobby and corridor space in Ackley-Shilling, Eicher-Lefevre, and Garneau-Harvey residence halls.

In the designers association's 2007 contest, Harper and WMU's remodeling services also picked up four awards: a best of show as well as a first, second and third place.

This year's winning projects are summarized as follows.

Business Career Center

The Haworth College of Business Career Center involved transforming 3,500 square feet of space in Schneider Hall to create a center that appeals to both students and employers, and gives students a chance to visually step into the corporate arena without having to travel for interviews.

The project resulted in a functional, professional-looking center with a large reception area, four offices, eight interview rooms, an employer's kitchen and lounge, an area where students can fill out applications while waiting to be interviewed, and an area for employers to display their company materials.

The center is solely furnished with furniture and office systems produced by Haworth Inc. of Holland, Mich., which was among the many organizations and individuals whose donations made the Career Center's creation possible. The company has used the WMU design teams' project drawings as part of its marketing strategy to demonstrate how Haworth products can be used.

Schneider Hall student lounge

The renovation of the Haworth College of Business student lounge in Schneider Hall affected a 3,500-square-foot space being used to house a small cafe and Student Leadership Advisory Board offices, as well as student meeting, studying and lounging areas. The space had poor traffic flow, lacked an eating area and featured furniture that had not been updated since Schneider was built in 1990.

In addition to making the lounge more attractive, the project resulted in a more functional layout for the space, given its diverse range of uses, defined a separate area for eating and vending, and incorporated new, more flexible furniture that can be easily moved and reconfigured to meet students' needs.

Student Recreation Center

For the Student Recreation Center's service desk and student lounge, about 1,650 square feet of space was remodeled in a centrally located area where four circulation paths merge. The project focused improving traffic flow, and creating a new service desk that would look more professional and streamline and a new, more enjoyable lounge area.

Prior to the remodel, the space was outdated, underutilized and in general, failed to function well. The project has enhanced the attractiveness of both the service desk and lounge, increased the ability of recreation center patrons to move freely in all directions, and improved service desk functionally by building in features to accommodate security, equipment, storage and other needs.

Goldsworth Valley residence halls

Renovations to the lobbies and student corridors in the three Goldsworthy Valley residence halls involved replace about 16,000 square feet of old asbestos tiles and worn carpeting with attractive as well as durable porcelain tiles and carpet tiles.

The project has resulted in a fresh look for the hall spaces, better traffic circulation and greater student use of public seating areas.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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