Western Kentucky University

Jody Richards Hall Student Technology Center Renovation

Originally designed as a massive computer lab with a multitude of computer stations, the Jody Richards computer lab was down on student utilization, out of date with today's needs for IT support and lacked collaboration space for students. Western Kentucky University noticed the changing needs of their students and responded with a rebooted design of this space.

The goal of the reimagination of the lab was to establish a fresh, modern, warm environment where students are encouraged to study and collaborate. The new design offers that and more. The project makes Topper Tech, the school’s IT walk-up support service, more accessible on the main floor instead of the second floor. Students can choose from a variety of gathering and lounge spaces throughout the space such as modern computer workstations of varied heights, printer stations, multiple sizes of meeting areas, collaborative study booths and quiet reading nooks. A raised platform meeting space and enclosed meeting space, both crafted to represent shipping containers, are centrally located within the space and bring a unique element to the design. Decorative acoustical dividers are used throughout the design to create a sense of privacy between gathering areas.

Warm wood tones mixed with white, gray, black and hints of red enhance the surfaces. Fun, unique lighting adorns the ceiling and modern branded finishes are used throughout to bring a playful touch to the space. The overall feeling of the space and décor represents the WKU spirit throughout for current students; and this space, full of WKU spirit and pride, is now a stop for prospective students to visit on the school’s new student orientation, Topper Tour. The Hilltopper’s spirit is represented in the murals, graphics and school colors of red, white and black all woven together into the design.

This new design is a direct response to the new ways students and staff work and collaborate, facilitating the use of personal devices. The Jody Richards Hall Student Technology Center is sure to offer students a collaborative space for study and serve as a showcase for student recruitment.