Interior design students gain hands-on experience in Kedzie


Students have the freedom to decorate their dorm rooms and apartments, but few have the opportunity to leave their decorative mark on a K-State building. However, students in Senior Interior Design Studio 7 have that opportunity. For their latest hands-on design project, students are working with the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications students, faculty and administrators to generate and present ideas for a Kedzie Hall makeover.

“This summer, I was asked to get some ideas about the Kedzie Hall renovations,” said Hyung-Chan Kim, assistant professor of interior design and instructor of the class. “I told the students about it. They had two weeks to define the problem and come up with a design solution.”

Haley Splan, fourth year interior design student, is a member of Kim’s class.

“We met at Kedzie in the beginning with five faculty members to get an idea of what they were thinking,” Splan said.

From there, various areas were identified for the remodel. These included the southeast entrance, the west entrance, the journalism library, an upstairs hallway and the student collaboration area, known as the “bat cave” to many Kedzie users.

“They stressed how they want it to portray that Kedzie is new and still doing awesome things, but still to preserve the past,” Splan said. “We knew we couldn’t go too modern because it’s an older building, but we wanted it to look new and fresh.”

After meeting with Kedzie professors and department administrators, the students got to work.

“Based on design theory, each group came up with several new ideas. We designed based on client want and need as well as based on our theories,” Kim said.

The groups looked at issues such as lighting, structural change possibilities, updating and other possible updating solutions.

“Each group did a plan, a concept of their design, and put it into sketches and 3-D designs of each of the spaces,” Splan said.

The six groups of students then presented their plans to various members of the journalism department in Kedzie in early September.

“They are waiting this semester, bouncing around ideas, talking about budget,” Splan said. “We will pick up the project next semester and get into more specifics, like actually picking out furniture.”

The students will still be involved in the second semester stage of this project in their Interior Design Studio 8 class, Kim said. While the class is still waiting to hear what design or designs will be implemented, Splan said she believes the project has been beneficial already.

“Our teachers are always making our assignments a client profile, but they are hypothetical,” Splan said. “When we were meeting with the Kedzie people, they had different opinions. In projects we got on paper, you don’t get that personal interaction you get in the real work. When it’s a real person and you can ask those questions, it makes it harder.”

Brittany Stevens, senior in journalism and A.Q. Miller School of Journalism ambassador, said she looks forward to the possibility of building improvements.

“I think it would be a great positive if we could use some of these design ideas; we might not be able to do all of them due to our budget, but it would be great if we could adopt at least some of them,” Stevens said.

As a public face of the Miller School, Stevens works with current students, the student body at large and prospective students. She believes this potential makeover could help all of those aspects.

“When people, especially high school students, come to Kedzie, we want them to be excited about the program and believe that it is an exciting and growing, modern field. It is hard to do that with a not modern building,” Stevens said. “We are really working on getting that out there, being very welcoming. We have a lot of great technology and things going on, and this would be a positive thing to help the school.”

While the interior design project in Kedzie is a current project, this isn’t the first time that K-State interior design students have partnered with the university or surrounding communities to get real-world experience.

“We are working with Salina on the president’s house,” Kim said. “We are working on Christmas decorations for that.”

In addition, students have worked with the K-State library, the horticulture department and the K-State greenhouses on various past renovation and design projects, Kim said. All of these projects not only benefit the K-State campus, but also help the interior design students gain real world knowledge and build networking opportunities.

With all real-world projects, Kim believes his students gain valuable knowledge and experience.

“Doing projects like this is a really good opportunity to work with a real client,” Kim said. “It is also a great opportunity to work with the university community. It’s very good.”