Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fine Arts Center heads into design phase

This week The Fine Arts Center remodel progresses into the design phase after collecting student and faculty opinions on what they think should go into the project. Sparano + Mooney Architecture, a firm based in Salt Lake City, is the main architectural firm working on the design.

“They’re great,” said Nicholas Morrison, the senior associate dean of the Caine College of the Arts. “We've really enjoyed working with them.”

The SLC firm hosted forums for the students and faculty in March to determine what they wanted to go into the new addition as well as the renovation.

“We were really pleased with the turnout,” Morrison said. “I’m just thrilled by the number of students and colleagues that participated in the discussion. It was really gratifying to see that much interest.”

Areas of concern for the students included specialized spaces.

“The students were very interested in having instructional teaching spaces. Particularly rooms suitable for having small interactive rehearsal spaces,” Morrison said. “Other things that students brought up include practice rooms and storage spaces for instruments.”

Craig Jessop, the dean of the CCA, said the Fine Arts Center has been overloaded for some time.

“The Fine Arts Center was opened in 1967,” he said. “At that time there were approximately seven members of the music faculty and about 125 majors. There are now 29 music faculty members and 450 majors but no space has been added to the building.”

Because of the growth, spaces have been thrown together.

We've had to cannibalize practice rooms. We've had to take large expensive hallways, cut them down and add makeshift offices,” Jessop said. “We’re bursting at the seams.”

Jessop said the purpose of the building is to give students the best experience possible.

“Our motto for the college is excellence with integrity,” he said. “This is all about creating excellence for the student experience. Empowering them and empowering our faculty.”

Jessop said every dollar spent on the renovation will go toward benefiting students.

“The focus of this project is the students. We want to take every dollar and give students the most benefit that we can,” he said.

Funds for renovations will come from the university and money for the new addition will come from donations given by benefactors, alumni and the community.

“We have some very generous benefactors and donations from individuals,” Morrison said.

Jessop said he is pleased to be a part of the remodel.

“It’s an incredibly historic time for the Caine College of the Arts,” he said. “It’s a great time to be here.”

According to Morrison, The decisions about what will go into the project will be decided over the next couple weeks.

“The decisions haven’t been made of which needs will and will not be addressed,” Morrison said. “It’s a really large project and it’s larger than we have funding for. We know that the extent of need is greater than the funding and that’s going to be the hard part.”

Construction is projected to begin this fall after the design process is completed.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Construction begins on new North Logan high school

This spring Design West, a Logan architectural and interior design firm, begun implementation on their model of the new North Logan high school.

The North Logan building is the second of two new schools for the valley. The first is located in Millville at  the south end of the valley. Both schools are being built to accommodate the valley’s growth.

Christian Wilson, a project architect at West, said they started construction at the south school first because that end of the valley has experienced more growth than the north end.

“Most people think the north end is growing more but it’s not. Out in Nibley there’s more,” he said. “Half of the south school will be Nibley kids.”

The district chose to work with two branches of West to oversee the design process. One branch is located in Logan and the other is in Meridian, Idaho.

The district chose to work with two branches because the Idaho firm designed the school that Cache Valley decided to model their schools after.

“The Logan office had the relationship with the district but we had the experience,” said Dion Zimmerman, the project architect from the Idaho firm. “The district came and saw our design and liked it so we modified it to their needs.”

Mike Liechty, the deputy superintendent of secondary education, said he wanted West to keep the design of the schools generic because an elaborate structure would cost more.

“It costs a whole lot of money to plan something elaborate,” he said. “We feel like we can still build a very nice high school with what we’re doing and still be careful with our taxpayers’ money.”

Wilson said it's also important to keep schools generic because people move around.

You've got to be very generic in your design,” Wilson said. “Teachers and principals get switched around so you can’t let the teachers design their own rooms. We have taken their input to heart and we’re working on incorporating the best ideas."

Dion Zimmerman, the project architect at the Idaho firm, said the north construction site should go more smoothly because they were able to work out construction difficulties at the south school.

"Even though every school is going to be different we can work out the kinks," he said. "We're hoping the north project goes quicker."

Construction on the south school is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016. The north school is expected to be completed by the fall of 2017.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Senior interior design class begins work on final project

The senior interior design class at Utah State University was assigned their final project today after having completing the requirements for the Senior Exhibit. Each student will compose a capstone book that will showcase all of the work they have completed this year.

Steven Mansfield, a senior lecturer in the program, said the book was implemented four years ago after Darrin Brooks, an associate professor in the program, visited another school and was impressed by something similar.

“We thought it would be impressive to have a thesis at an undergraduate level that people can see,” Mansfield said.

The book was also implemented because the seniors would finish earlier than the other classes in the program.

“When I took over the class the seniors finished up at the exhibit and then they were done three or four weeks early. Then they wouldn't do anything,” Mansfield said. “It set a bad precedent for our students.”

Tyson Bekker, a student in the graduating class, said the book will be a collection of the work he’s completed this year.

“It’s kinda like a thesis book,” he said. “A keepsake of everything that we did this year.”

Jill Harmon, another graduating senior, said each book will be different.

“There are some things that will be universal,” she said. “But each one will be a little different because we each go through a different process and the Capstone book is just a detailed description of our process.”

Harmon said she doesn't have a plan for her book yet.

“In my brain I've done it but I haven’t actually completed anything yet,” she said. “I want it to be cool and look nice.”

The students will submit their books during finals week.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sophomore class adds finishing touches to tiny house project

The sophomore interior design class is adding their final touches on their projects for the Sophomore Show. The show, also known as the Tiny House Exhibit, will be held April 20 through April 24 in the Tippetts Exhibit Hall in the Fine Arts-Visual building at Utah State University.

The exhibit has been held for the last 13 years and is a culmination of two semesters worth of work for the class.

Steven Mansfield, a senior lecturer in the program, said displaying the students projects is important because of how much time goes into them.

“It’s a huge project and we used to not do an exhibit,” he said. “But the work was so good and students hate to work that hard and never have the opportunity show it.”

Nikki Mullins, a student in the program, said this project has been difficult because of how detailed they have to be when creating the house.  

“It’s one of the harder projects of the year because it is so specific and you have to learn so many things,” she said. “There’s just a lot of things that go into building a house.”

Another student, Hailey Fonda, said she’s enjoyed having her ideas come to life.

“Before just the ideas were in your head,” she said. “But when it was rendered you could see it as a real space. You could actually see what it really looked like.”

Mullins said the project has stretched her creativity.

“We just started from lines on a paper and turned into a house, which is mind-blowing,” she said.

Mullins said every project is unique but her project is different from everyone else’s.

“So far it’s so different from anyone. Mine is seven floors and there’s an elevator,” she said. “It’s different but going good. I've definitely been challenged.”

Fonda said she likes that this program is structured differently from other programs offered at USU.

“It’s not like other majors where they tell you to write a paper. You get to express your own ideas and build things how you want them,” she said. “There’s not really a wrong or right, so there’s a certain amount of freedom.”

Fonda said she’s excited to show people what she’s done so far in the exhibit.

“Most people don’t think this major is very hard, but it’s a lot of work,”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Freshman interior design applicants anticipate decision

This Monday the freshman class of the Utah State University’s interior design program submitted their project applications that will be reviewed by the faculty of the interior design department. Their final designs will determine if they will be accepted and continue in the rest of the program.

Sarah Urquhart, an assistant professor in the program, said freshmen are not directly admitted because professors want students to get a sample of the program first.

“After they've gone through a year of coursework they can then apply to be in the program. The projects are then rated by the entire faculty,” Urquhart said. “The outcome of those ratings determine who will get into the program.”

This year the freshman were assigned to build a lamp.

Taylor Merrill, one of the applicants, said the project was intended to showcase their entire design process.

“Of course they want the end result to look good and be functional because that’s the whole point, but it’s mostly so they can see how you went about creating,” she said. “They want to see the step-by-step.”

Another applicant, Shantae Broadbent, said the project was more difficult than she imagined it would be.

“I originally had an idea of how I wanted it to look, but because I had that first original idea nothing was working,” she said. “I would do something and have to start over, but when I finally got rid of how I wanted it to end, everything just fell together.”

Merrill said she had similar difficulties.

“It doesn't seem like it would be that difficult once you get down to it, but I ended up building and rebuilding my lamp three different times before I finally got to one that I was fine with visually,” she said. “It really tests how good of a designer you are.”

The applicants were told not to expect to hear anything until May 15.

Broadbent said the wait has been hard.

“It’s completely nerve wracking, I’ll be totally honest, I’m nervous and I think about it every day,” she said. “I want to have an email from them saying yes or no.”

The applicants didn't want to talk specifically about their projects because they are currently anonymous to the reviewers.

“I don’t want to talk too much about it because they are still blind reviewing,” said Merrill. “But I ended up being very happy with how it turned out.”

This year the number of applicants was estimated to be around 50 students. Urquhart said that the review process cuts the applicants down.  

“We typically cut about 50 percent but that number isn't firm. We take all the applicants that we feel will do well,” she said.

Merrill said she plans to remain positive no matter the outcome.

“For me, there isn't anything else,” she said. “This is what I want to do and if I don’t get in now it just means that I have a whole extra year to hone my skills and try again.”

Saturday, April 11, 2015

K Studios finishes residence

Keturah Partridge, the owner of K Studios, completed a Hyde Park residence last week that posed some difficulties for her.

The residence was difficult for Partridge because the business is solely run by her and she needed to complete many things in a short amount of time.

“Sometimes I needed to be in four places at once,” she said.  

Partridge was contracted by a woman who wanted to surprise her husband while he was on a business trip. However Partridge was only notified a week before the job.

“Usually on a project like that I have a two or three month window where I can prep,” she said. “But this project was a surprise.”

Partridge said the project was filled with numerous setbacks.

“I had a contractor come in to build an entertainment center in the master bedroom,” she said. “We wanted him done and out before carpet but he definitely wasn't done.”

She was able to work around the contractor but the next obstacle was the carpenters.

“They didn't bring enough tape with them to get the back of the room put together and then they couldn't come back for two more days,” she said. “We just had to cover everything with plastic and continue working.”

Partridge said when things like this happen you just have to keep going.

“You just have to roll with it,” she said.

Overall Partridge said she was satisfied with how the project turned out.

“It’s hard to make everything come together without prep time,” she said. “But we were really lucky.”

Partridge said her client was pleased.

“It’s absolutely fabulous,” she said. “The husband actually said it looked like the Hotel Monaco. He just loved it.”

Partridge started her business two years ago and she usually completes projects on her own but she said she has to have her husband or sons help her occasionally.

Conner Partridge, her son, said that working on projects with his mother has influenced his own design decisions.

“It’s a little embarrassing but because I grew up around someone that works in interior design I know how to design a space,” he said. “I grew up watching interior design shows and I've actually become pretty good.”
Keturah Partridge said she’s considered expanding because having an extra pair of hands would be helpful, but for now she likes her business the way it is.

“I love that it’s my own. My schedule is my own, my deadlines are my own, anything I choose is my own. I have complete control over that,” she said. “It’s completely me.”

Friday, April 10, 2015

Logan City's Light and Power department prepares for new building

Logan City’s Light and Power department met with Wyatt Mitchell, a Logan architectural and interior designer company, this week to begin planning their new building.

Brittany Mitchell, co-owner of the company, said that the department needs a space just for them because they haven't had a permanent building for the last two years.

“They have just been tossed around into a bunch of temporary facilities. They've never really had a building that works for them,” she said. “They need a building that their whole team can be in."

Mark Montgomery, the department’s director, said that having their own building will be useful.

“It will be nice to have a permanent place,” he said. “We've been temporarily housed over the last several years, so it’ll be good.”

Co-owner of the company, Craig Wyatt, said that he and his team are excited to begin working on this project.

We've worked on other city buildings before and they've been good,” he said. “We’re looking forward to working on this one.”

In the kick-off meeting the department communicated their needs and wants for the building to Mitchell.

“Their looking a lot into design features. They are looking into solar panels and ground floor heat,” she said. “It all kinda goes back to the sustainable stuff."

The company’s next step is to move forward with the construction documents and then submit them to Logan City for approval.

“You have to submit a site plan to Logan City and then they have to approve it to make sure we are meeting the proper city ordinances,” said Mitchell.

The company hopes to submit their documents by the end of the month.

Construction is estimated to begin in September.