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Eggan Youth Center banner with Roxanne Holden

Designing for Life

Model for Area Youth
By Casey McDaniel

"Did I shrink somehow? Am I standing in my model?"

Those are the questions Roxanne Holden, a 2009 graduate in interior design from Troy, asked herself when she recently saw her capstone design project come to fruition.

The project was an interior remodel of the Moscow Eggan Youth Center, which was unveiled this September with a grand-reopening.

"It’s exactly how I pictured it," she recalls.

"'Real-world' experiences – where our students can work with a client, document existing conditions of the facility, conduct observations of human behavior and interview facility users –provide enriched learning opportunities,” says Shauna Corry, associate professor of interior design.

That is exactly what happened with Holden.

In 2008, Eric Newell, recreation supervisor for the city of Moscow, approached Corry about incorporating student ideas into the planned remodel of the center.

Corry saw the youth center’s remodel as a chance for her students to get some real-world experience with this service-learning project that would also help the community. She had her senior-level students create their own designs for the remodel.

The semester-long project in spring 2009 included a class trip to the youth center, and a presentation of their concepts to Newell and Parks and Recreation board members.

After a rigorous design and selection process, Holden's concept was chosen for the youth center remodel.

“I took what started as a school project for a grade and turned it into a 3-D model,” says Holden.

The new design includes new paint, furniture, flat screen televisions and a Wii. All of this was done to improve the space and make it more usable for the children in the area to do things like homework but also have special events like a Super Bowl party.

A donation to the youth center funded the implementation of Holden's design, and in September, a grand reopening event showcased the final product.

Even though service learning projects are a normal part of the Interior Design curriculum, Corry says that they usually take much longer to secure funding to precede with the students designs. Holden was fortunate because she was from the area and was able to work with the project for more than a year after she graduated.

Holden noted that the most nerve-wracking part – but also the most rewarding – was at the grand re-opening event, when the ribbon was cut and the kids were allowed in for the first time.

“If anyone was going to be brutally honest about what they think of the new youth center, it’s going to be the kids,” she says.

To her pleasure, the kids were filled with pure excitement about the changes and Holden was able to watch her senior project turn into a real-world success story in her own community.

More than a year after she began work on a project, Holden now sees the fruit of her labor.

"I am excited to be able to work in the Moscow area and help provide the better center for the area's youth," she says.

Since her graduation, Holden volunteers her time to the Eggan Youth Center. She also works for Macy’s in Moscow as a visual manager, allowing her to use her design knowledge to coach a team to creatively present merchandise throughout the store.