Marketing & Media Relations
Brady Butler, Director
9000 Babcock Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

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Pittsburgh, PA – March 3, 2011 – At its February meeting, the Butler Area Public Library Board approved the concept for a new Music Listening Center developed by La Roche Interior Design students Amanda Gilliland, Molly Podplesky and Caroline Vranesevic. Funding for the Music Listening Center came from a bequest from the estate of Bill Lehnerd, founder of the Butler Musical Theater Guild and a longtime supporter of the library in Butler County.

Last year, when the board first learned of Mr. Lehnerd’s contribution, they decided that they wanted to use the contribution in a way that would create a meaningful legacy. Because of Mr. Lehnerd’s involvement and support of music and the arts, the library board chose to create a listening center where library patrons could come and listen to the vast collection of CDs owned by the library.

Through his acquaintance with Sally Wood, adjunct faculty member in La Roche College’s Interior Design program, Greg Sloan, the library’s director of development, learned about the strength of the La Roche’s program and that faculty members were always looking for projects to give the students real-world experience. Mr. Sloan and Lori Campbell, the library’s executive director, decided to invite La Roche sophomore interior design students to submit ideas for the new Music Listening Center.

“This was an outstanding project for students at the sophomore level to get real-world experience,” said Professor Dev Nagar. “The assignment gave students the opportunity to experience actual project challenges, such as understanding real space issues, client interaction, realistic problem solving and professional presentation requirements,” he explained.

Five student teams worked on the project over a period of several months. The net result was a positive experience and outcome for all participants.

Lori Campbell wrote in a letter to the college, “We were incredibly impressed with the designs. And we thank each of them for their very creative ideas and recommendations.” She added, “Their work, their ideas, their presentations and their interactions with us exceeded all our expectations.”

Student participant Molly Podplesky said, “We were able to apply what we have learned in class about space planning, traffic patterns, materials and finishes. Our greatest challenge was designing the Listening Center for Mr. Lehnerd without really knowing him. We visited the Musical Theatre Guild’s Production Center to try to gain insight into what he would want.”

Ms. Podplesky continued, “This project was of great interest because we got to work with a ‘real client’ on a space design that has the possibility of being implemented. It is very important to communicate with your client and develop a good rapport. The cooperation of the staff at the Butler Area Public Library helped immensely.”

Sloan reported, “The library is now seeking an architect to complete the architectural drawings so we can release them to prospective contractors to provide quotes. Then we can select a contractor and begin work.”

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