New facility gives students more room to grow

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    After splitting from the main campus, one department enjoys living on the outskirts.Interior design and fashion merchandising students have more elbow room after moving from tight spaces in the Bass Building to spacious facilities on Berry Street.

    For some students and faculty, the department’s new location, which is south of the TCU Police station, is a longer walk, but students and faculty say the walk is worth it.

    “It takes more time to get there, but this facility gives us so much more room to do our projects, unlike the Bass Building where we were having to share space with nursing majors,” said Rachael Yoss, a junior interior design major.

    Mary Volcansek, dean of the AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said she knew she had to do something about the department’s space situation when she saw that students, particularly interior design students, were having a difficult time producing work in such “cramped conditions.”

    “It was absolutely inadequate for students to work in,” Volcansek said. “I couldn’t believe the dedication of students and faculty to work in such a confined space.”

    Jane Kucko, chairwoman for the department of design, merchandising and textiles, said the department plans to move into the Brown-Lupton Student Center after the new student union is built, but for now, she said she is grateful for the funds provided by TCU to construct a facility that is double the size of what they had before.

    “I think we now have the space to offer the quality education that we desire to offer,” Kucko said. “Not only will the quality of work be sustained, but it will also be improved due to the additional work space.”

    The original space in the Bass Building, which was approximately 7,500 square feet, had two design studios, two lighting studios and a computer lab that was shared with the College of Health and Human Sciences.

    The 13,000-square-foot facility on Berry Street provides two design studios, two lighting labs, a computer lab, a historical costume collection, a construction studio and a larger window display.

    Volcansek said the new facility should give students a better idea of what it will be like to be an interior designer or a fashion merchandiser when they begin their careers after school.

    Kucko said another advantage to the new facility is interior design and fashion merchandising majors are able to interact with each other. In the Bass Building, the two departments were located on different floors.

    However, Kucko said, there are some disadvantages.

    Kucko said students are asked to enter through the back of the building because she is concerned about students interacting with pedestrians on Berry Street who are not connected to TCU.

    “Also, construction is still in process, so the sound of drills and hammers is a daily background,” Kucko said.

    The “perception of being disjointed” from the main campus has an effect on both the faculty and students, Kucko said.

    “I have colleagues in the Bass Building who have been working with me for 22 years,” she said. “We will definitely have to take that lunch break and walk to the faculty center so that we can stay connected in the meantime.”

    Yoss said she and other classmates hope the GrandMarc at Westberry Place, which is expected to house about 600 residents, will bring “new life” and more attention to that area.

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