NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Approximately 60 Stephen F. Austin State University interior design students recently participated in a charrette, an intense design period, to help plan and design a new fire station for the Douglass Volunteer Fire Department.
During this three-day period, eight teams of interior design students of various classifications engaged in every phase of the design process, which started with a visit to the proposed building site. Students visited the site off Texas Highway 21 in Douglass to obtain measurements and sketch the location. Douglass fire department personnel were on hand to answer questions.
Students also toured the Appleby Volunteer Fire Department to gain a better understanding of how a fire station operates and to visualize the layout of a station.
“It was very eye opening to see the ground zero of a project and how it all starts,” said Jordan Sims, Euless sophomore. “I realized there is a lot more you have to take into consideration such as tree location when building a project.”
On the second day of the charrette, James Scott with Mueller Inc., a company that specializes in steel buildings and metal roofing, gave a presentation on steel buildings, and Lonnie Tatum, former fire chief with Highland Village and current consultant with Kirkpatrick Architectural Studio in Denton, presented on fire departments. Students also interviewed members of the Douglass Volunteer Fire Department about their vision for the new facility.
“The presentations gave me a better understanding of what needs to be included in a fire station. It’s different than what you see on TV,” Sims said.
This project required students to create a workable plan for the facility. Students were given building criteria that included specifics the department hopes to incorporate into the new station. In their plans, teams prepared schematics and implemented Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and security as well as a floor plan with exterior and interior elevations and perspectives, materials, and color schemes. On the final day of the charrette, students presented their project plans to members of the Douglass Volunteer Fire Department.
“We as faculty members feel strongly about the importance of offering our talents and our students’ talents to the community and giving back what we can through design,” said Sally Ann Swearingen, associate professor of interior design at SFA.
Each year as a volunteer service to the community, SFA’s interior design department participates in a similar project. Past projects include working with the Boys and Girls Club in Nacogdoches, Lufkin and Douglass as well as Love In the Name of Christ, a nonprofit Christian organization.
Dr. Mitzi Perritt, professor, and Leisha Bridwell, associate professor, also were involved in the project.