Colorado State Students Compete to Design Best Barrier-Free Facility

Colorado State University’s interior design students are participating in a competition to help a Fort Collins group plan a new facility for people with disabilities.

This year’s Barrier Free Design Competition offers the opportunity for 30 students to work with a community group on plans that could be used to build a Fort Collins facility. The Options for Long-Term Care Committee is a group of community members advocating the construction of a long-term care facility for disabled adults between 18 and 60 years of age. The student designs will be used as part of the committee’s research into possible facilities.

The submitted designs will be on display at the same time judges decide on winning entries from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. March 4 in the Cherokee Park Room of the Lory Student Center on campus.

"Every year, this contest boosts student and community interest in creating environments with increased handicapped accessibility," said Brian Dunbar, associate professor of interior design in the department of design, merchandising and consumer sciences at Colorado State. "The students’ past designs have been the impetus behind some specific changes on campus, and this year we hope the competition can help the Fort Collins community design a new facility for people with disabilities."

The five-person judging panel will include representatives from the Options for Long Term Care Committee, Colorado State’s Office of Resources for Disabled Students, Colorado State faculty members in interior design and occupational therapy and local design professionals. Students will receive first, second and third place awards, and as many as three honorable mention awards.

Contest winners will be announced at an awards ceremony from 7-9 p.m. March 25 on the Johnson Hall Mainstage on campus. The ceremony is part of the university’s annual Disability Awareness Days March 23-27, and will include performances by the Colorado State theater department. The winning designs will be displayed from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. March 27 in the Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge.

Students participating in the contest are juniors who are members of two interior design studio classes. Students were paired up to design facilities suitable for long-term care of adults with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, polio and other disabilities. Each design incorporates common areas and 24-hour nurse availability with private apartments. Student designs include plans for how the facility would look as well as how it would function. Students studied the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, read books on handicapped-accessible styles and visited a nursing home to help prepare for the project.

The Barrier-Free Design Contest is sponsored by the Office of Resources for Disabled Students.

For more information on the Barrier-Free Design Contest or other programs that highlight disability-awareness issues, contact the Office of Resources for Disabled Students at (970) 491-6385.