The teens maybe not be professionals, but after only ten weeks of classes the Soldotna High School interior design class landed its first project to be realized beyond paper plans.
The 22 students are designing a teen center for Soldotna.
Tuesday, the student designers worked through the class period maneuvering paper cutouts of game tables and furniture across floor plans testing multiple spots, keeping traffic flow, screen projector logistics and other issues in mind, until the best location was found for the items.
They will continue to work on the project through the week.
“It’s for them, so it makes the most sense for them to design it,” SoHi teacher Meggean Bos said.
The Teen Center Advisory Committee recently secured a space located off the Kenai Spur Highway near East Park Avenue, and asked the class to design the center.
Each group will finish their designs on Friday, and the committee will either choose one of the six proposals or combine elements from multiple designs, Bos said.
While the project teaches the students to work within “real-world” guidelines and deadlines, Bos said because they are not professionals it takes the students longer to conceptualize the project.
SoHi student Jazi Larrow said she was excited when Bos told the class they would be designing the center because “we’re going to hang out there.” Her group member Cody Watkins agreed and said he feels like he’s doing something for the community. Leah McCabe liked that the project is going to be implemented.
“This is real life being able to do this,” she said.
As the students worked on their layouts, Bos checked with groups to see how they were progressing and reminded them of elements to consider like creating a space that’s easy to clear for a dance floor.
A common concern of students was not enough space or too many required elements.
“We’re just trying to get everything to fit and look nice,” Madison Nelson said.
Her group finished their layout and began looking at paint colors on Tuesday. They agreed that neon colors are their top choice.
Another group agreed that working with the space was a challenge.
“It’s a lot of stuff to fit in a small space,” Jessica Hanna said.
One of her group members, Robin Johnson, said figuring out where to put some stuff was easy, like the reception desk that needs to go near the front door.
The girls’ group considered putting the projector screen over the garage door in the back of the building. Bos reminded them that the door won’t have a tight seal and there might be problems with a draft moving the screen.
Even while struggling to fit everything, Johnson liked that the committee gave the students the opportunity to work on the project.
“It’s kind of cool because we get to design it and we’re just high schoolers,” she said.
The committee previously surveyed students to found out what teens most wanted at the center. Based on those results, the students’ designs must include:
■ tables and chairs for homework and hanging out;
■ four living room areas with TV screens;
■ projector and screen;
■ game tables including pool, fooseball, ping pong and air hockey;
■ reception desk;
■ workstation for four computers;
■ computer counter and meeting table in the study room;
■ snack bar;
■ reading area;
■ art area;
■ bulletin board;
The committee hopes to have the center operating by Christmas, according to Sen. Peter Micciche.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.