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The City Journals

Interior design chapter uses talents to improve mental health at The Children’s Center

Nov 27, 2019 08:28AM ● By Drew Crawford

Designers share ideas for the redesign of the floor plan of The Children’s Center.

By Drew Crawford | [email protected]

On the evening of Oct. 30, The Commercial Interior Design Association’s (IIDA) Intermountain chapter hosted their first community outreach event at The Children’s Center. 

A group of 25 designers led by Sydnie Young and Dannon Rampton came together to work on the project of redesigning the interior of the historic Oquirrh School building. 

Designers divided into groups to reimagine the layouts of each floor and how the space could be used to effectively to address the needs of children facing challenges related to behavior and mental health. 

Using the dimensions that the center collected, each group was assigned a floor of the building and drew designs on wax paper. The designers imagined layouts that included sound-insulated acoustics and a friendly and supportive environment. 

The mission of the designers is to work together with The Children’s Center to create an interior environment where the children can thrive and heal from trauma. As a designer who has a background in working on health centers, Young believes that design can directly enhance the well-being of the children. 

“Design is one of the most powerful tools that we as humans have,” Young said. “Every single space that you’re in has been influenced and affected by design. Whether that’s the color of the light, the layout of the space; everything that is good is influenced by design. As interior designers we are able to come into a space, evaluate it, and if things aren’t working, what can we do to evaluate it and make sure that they are.” 


Over the coming years the center will flourish by adding therapists and outreach groups. The center’s purpose will be enabled from the utility function of efficient design.


Many offices are currently located close to noise and distractions that can be upsetting to children with special needs. The new spaces will integrate easy accessibility and make the features usable for everyone. 


The effectiveness of the therapy will be improved if the center is safe and aesthetically pleasing to the children. 


Many designers came eager to share their talents to help people in the community experiencing difficulties related to mental health. Rampton knows that the designs will further the mission of the center.


“We, as a group, wanted to help them create a vision for where they want to go in the future with this facility. We want to give them a vision of how they can be more functional,” Rampton said.

The chapter originally became aware of the opportunity through one of their members who is on the board of The Children’s Center.

The committee of the IIDA has two members that head up the project. The chapter views its efforts as a way to help the community and to educate the public on what their profession does. 

Rampton explained that the chapter realized that it would be more impactful to use their licenses to change the interior instead of doing a singular day of community service and updating the upholstery. 

The chapter will continue to work with the board over the following months to determine the future plans for the interior. 

The Children’s Center building that is being redesigned is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located at 350 S. 400 East in Salt Lake City. It serves children around the valley and South Salt Lake.

The building was designed by Richard Kletting, the award-winning architect known for his design of the Utah State Capitol building. It was built in 1894. 

To learn more about the IIDA Intermountain chapter visit www.iida-intermountain.org/.