Fairmont State University AIAS Design, Built and Donates Handicap Accessible Tables and Benches for Sundale Nursing Home

May 06, 2011

The Fairmont State University (FSU) chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) recently designed, built and donated handicap accessible tables and benches for Sundale Nursing Home in Morgantown, West Virginia. The project was part of “Freedom by Design”, a community service program organized by the national AIAS.

This is the first year FSU students have participated in the program. Under the direction of their mentors, Jason Miller of Omni Associates – Architects and Philip Freeman, the students began designing during the Fall 2010 semester. Miller was familiar with Sundale Nursing Home as one of Omni’s principal architects, John Sausen, had designed Sundale’s new Palliative Care Center, a specialized care environment for patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

For the FSU students, part of the design challenge was to figure out how to create exterior handicap accessible furniture that could be used in multiple ways. Thus, the two benches can be used as a corner bench, one long bench, or as individual pieces. The students’ work will be placed in a private outdoor courtyard of the Sundale Palliative Care Center to be used by patients and their visitors.

“Freedom by Design” utilizes the talents of architecture students to radically impact the lives of people in their community through modest design and construction solutions. It teaches students how to resolve accessibility issues while simultaneously providing them with the real world experience of working with a client, mentorship from a local architect and constructor, and an understanding of the practical impact of architecture and design. (