Design Days competition incorporates community wishes


Landscape architect and regional and community planning students began the two-day long Design Day competition Tuesday. Design Day, held annually, encourages landscape and regional and community planning students to stretch their creativity and come up with a design for a particular problem.

This year, students were told to take wishes from community members and incorporate them into the K-State 2025 initiative presented by President Kirk Shultz. Previous problems included recycling across campus and adding more biking access. In past years, different departments, such as the interior design department, as well as students from different majors, worked together.

“We wanted more community input,” said Jeremy Merrill, project manager and graduate student in environmental design and planning, of this year’s project. “So we set up a Twitter and Facebook page over the summer. We had wish boxes in local businesses, and we went to the farmer’s market. Overall, I think we had over 600 wishes.”

In addition to making these wishes a reality, students also have to come up with a way to tell the story of Manhattan and K-State in 2025. They need to answer questions such as what the project will look like and where the project will be. These stories can be told in a number of ways, such as a video or a fake news cast.

Phillip Martinez, junior in regional and community planning, said he thought he and his team would design a poster. He and his team had the wishes for more green space, street cars that connect to downtown Manhattan, better transportation between Manhattan and Junction City, and more drive-in theaters.

“It’s really an open interpretation in what we can do,” said Tara Sears, member of Martinez’s team and sophomore in landscape architecture.

Design Day started at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, and teams were randomly selected from all of the students in the landscape architecture major. Classes were cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday so students could have more time to complete their projects, although even with this time they still get less than 48 hours.

“Right now, our plan is up in the air,” said Steve Colandrea, senior in regional and community planning. “We’re in the process of trying to define our strategy to portray our wishes for 2025.”

Colandrea and his team said they had the wishes for more organic grains, bicycle friendly areas, a waterfall in a park, more family activities, and a community garden space.

All the projects and presentations will be available for the public to see at Purple Power Play in City Park. Once there, students and members of the public alike can vote for their favorite design in several different categories: People’s Choice, Student’s Choice, Revolutionary Design, Best Fulfillment of a Wish, and Shovel-Ready, in which the design could be implemented sometime in the near future.

“We are trying to take our wishes and use them creatively, so that they not only work now but also in the future in 2025,” said Katie Leise, senior in landscape architecture. “We want there to be more community interaction and bring out the university more to the community.”