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AU News

Walters Recognized for Design Excellence

July 11, 2022
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Transform an awkwardly shaped, poorly lit corner of a public library into a place where teens would want to go—on a budget. An AU School of Interior Design alumna took on that challenge and was recognized for her efforts.

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A 2017 graduate and current adjunct professor at Anderson University’s School of Interior Design, Melissa Walters was a lead designer at McMillan Pazdan Smith for the award-winning teen space of the Nancy Guinn Memorial Library. 

The Nancy Guinn Memorial Library, located in the Atlanta suburb of Conyers, Georgia, was constructed in 1989. The existing library lacked a dedicated space to support the needs of young adults within the community. 

“It was the library’s vision to create a dynamic space where their teen patrons could have a sense of ownership and really enjoy being at the library,” Walters said. “We were able to work closely with them to identify their goals and priorities for the space. Through intentional space planning, we found a way to work within the constraints of the existing structure to minimize new construction elements, to keep costs conservative, while still creating a space that would be dynamic, vibrant and inviting, so teens can gather, learn, and be excited about coming to the library.”

Walters and her team at McMillan Pazdan Smith took on the challenge of taking an awkwardly shaped, poorly lit corner of the library and transforming it into a colorful, engaging destination where teens would want to go—all within a tight budget. 

McMillan Pazdan Smith submitted this recently completed project to the IIDA Carolinas Chapter DesignWorks competition within the “Beauty on a Budget” Category. To be eligible for the category, projects must be less than 10,000 square feet and completed for under $60 per square foot (construction cost). Their entry received honorable mention in the “Beauty on a Budget” category at the 2022 IIDA Carolinas DesignWorks Awards Ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina. 

“It was an honor to accept the award on behalf of our design team as the lead designer,” Walters said.

Walters also highlighted the project at the Georgia Public Library Services Facilities & Disaster Preparedness Summit at Jekyll Island, Georgia, this past April as part of her presentation on library design. 

The Anderson University School of Interior Design is one of only nine such programs to be offered in a Christian institution of higher learning and has graduates working as professional interior designers across the nation and internationally. Details can be found online


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