Students Design New Lower Debot
Emmitt Williams
lower-3-color-cassie-scott.jpgThis summer, interior architecture majors were placed in design teams to come up with ideas for a new Lower Debot. Their designs were solely focused on suggestions they received from students on campus. In the end, the plan entitled, “Revel at Lower”, created by Emily Ballweg and Brian Luscher, was chosen as the winning renovation design.

Although there were some challenges, the student designers were pleased with the results.

“The most rewarding part of the design experience is simply seeing the reactions that students have when they see what we, as designers, can come up with,” said Emily Switz, an interior architecture major and one of the designers.

Emily was not alone. These students wanted to create something that represented the student voice. With this in mind, the designers were out to make sure students were satisfied with their ideas.

​TOP: Sarah Vogel answers students’ questions about the design she
worked on for Lower Debot.
MIDDLE: Emily Ballweg explains finish and furniture options with
a student. Photos by Cassie Scott.
lower-2-color-cassie-scott.jpg“I think being the chosen winning design and getting recognition for this was very rewarding,” Luscher said. “However, watching the excitement in the students as the design unfolds into reality will be the most rewarding.”

Each design team not only came up with their own concepts for the designs but also had to calculate the cost of their designs.

“I think the most challenging part of the design experience was getting all of our quotes from the manufacturers… It is time consuming because you have to wait for all of them to respond,” said designer Lindsey Penning.

Other teams faced different challenges.

“The most challenging part was getting started, working with everyone’s schedules, different levels of experience and initial commitment,” Luscher said.


Teammates Ballweg and Luscher were picked as the winning designers. While in the designing process, they paid attention to minor details inspired by the age group, social standpoints and concerns of comfort.

“With the target demographic being underage, we wanted to give them a space they could call theirs,” Luscher said.

Ballweg and Luscher understood a lot of students on campus find it hard to transition from living at home to being a full-time college student.

“This design acts as a segue between living at home and their parents rec-room of traditional décor and contemporary design,” Luscher said.

Students Matthew Rosenquist, Lindsey Penning and Amy Fredrickson
presented their Lower Debot re-design to a group of students.
More importantly, it is anticipated that this will be a place students where students want to spend their free time.

“It’s a place they would look forward to going to hang with friends, go on a date, socialize, unwind or blow off steam. Hence the name Revel at Lower,” Luscher said.

Director of Dining Services, Mark Hayes, spoke of being on the outside looking in on the students’ hard work and designs.

“The student project teams did all the work, so this is all their credit… everyone in Dining was very excited about the individual proposals and the level of professionalism and creativity,” Hayes said.

Although the wining design has been picked, there are more steps to be taken before anything is official.

“Renovation costs are estimated at $500,000, so additional balloting, discussions with the Student Government Organization, the Dining Advisory Board, and the Resident Hall Association will need to proceed before any decisions are made,” Hayes said.