The College’s Engineering Technology Management: Construction Management students and faculty have partnered with UTC Interior Design Program, UT Knoxville’s School of Architecture, the Tennessee Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners (TBAEE), and First Baptist Church of Bozentown to establish a community design studio.  The Living Studio was established within the church’s facilities located on Dodds Avenue, Chattanooga, and will serve the community as a resource to assist area citizens with residential design challenges.

With grant funding provided by TBAEE, spaces in First Baptist Church were transformed into a design laboratory and work space for students in all three academic programs.  During the summer, students from CECS and the Interior Design Program of UTC’s College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies, invested “sweat equity” in cleaning, painting, and refurbishing spaces which will be accessible to community residents as well as the undergraduate and graduate students assisting them.

With the Design Studio “up and running,” the CECS students and their interior design colleagues have turned their attention and skills the design and execution of short-term projects. In partnership with local Widow’s Harvest Ministries, the students have determined to focus on ways to help those in need in our community.  One of the greatest needs for widows today is housing and home maintenance. Since 1986, through the leadership of Director Andy Mendonza, Widow’s Harvest with its dozens of volunteers (most of whom are under the age of 25), has made both major and minor repairs to thousands of widows’ homes in Chattanooga.  The “union” of UTC students and Widow’s Harvest is a “natural” – putting talented, dedicated students to work in real world settings to help the College’s neighbors, while also supporting a local nonprofit.  It’s a “win win” for all involved , and supports the College’s commitment to outreach and service.

CECS Associate Dean Dr. Neslihan Alp and UTC Interior Design Program Director Dr. Dana Moody welcome these collaborative efforts between the University’s academic divisions, and view the partnership with Widow’s Harvest as a great way for their students to see how they can make a real difference in our community – one project at a time.  One of the projects completed last month provided a much-needed new walkway for the home of Mrs. Wanda Buck, allowing her to have safer and more reliable access to her house in Chattanooga’s Ridgeside neighborhood.

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