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Interior Design Students Redesign Teacher Workspace at Ozark North Elementary 

collage of 5 photos from design process including students assembling furniture, design vision board and picture of finished room

Ozark High School students in the Design & Fashion (Interior Design) Pathway didn’t have to look far to get a real-word designing experience this school year. When Dr. Keisha Wurgler, a literacy coach at North Elementary, was talking about getting a grant to redesign a workspace at the school, OHS interior design teacher Lexy McNew knew her students would be up for the challenge. 

“Not even knowing who my students for 2023-24 would be, I said, ‘what if my Interior Design students helped with the designs,”’ McNew said. “I always try to have a practical application project for them each year. Keisha loved the idea.” 

After Wurgler was awarded a $1,500 grant from the Ozark School District Foundation to redesign a workspace into a tranquil teaching space for North teachers, students jumped in to begin the design process. 

“We learned that the project was awarded grant money and I was so eager to involve my students,” McNew said. “I developed a plan to link my curriculum to the project and broke it down into manageable pieces.”

Those pieces took a whole school year and included conducting client interviews, doing to-scale architectural drafting, creating space plans and vision/mood boards, creating an invoice and projecting costs for selected items, presenting those plans to the clients (aka Wurgler), helping source furniture and other materials, and finally, setting up the room. 

A few highlights of the design are:

  • Sofa with USB and power outlets so teachers can stay charged during meetings and work sessions. 
  • Coffee table that lifts as a desktop/workspace. 
  • Open end tables that can slide over the chairs and be used as a workspace. 
  • Using existing furniture the space was rearranged to accommodate eight people around the dining table and four people in the living room area.

“I have been incredibly blessed this year with amazing design students,” McNew said. “They rose to the challenge with this project and hopefully we’ll get to do more in the future.”