|Interior design students help revive local Route 66 building|
|Written by Douglas Bridges-O’Connor, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Sunday, 06 May 2012 12:50|
Interior design majors spent three weeks developing design plans for one of three rooms inside a local Route 66 service station owned by Terri Ryburn, chief clerk for the School of Information Technology.
The 1930s-era structure was once a gas station, restaurant, and garage, and accommodating Route 66 travelers on their way down the historic highway.
Ryburn, who some would consider an expert on Route 66 history, bought the building in 2006 and began restoring it to its former glory days.
“I think most people would have run away screaming, but I was able to see the potential, and I love Route 66,” Ryburn said.
Ryburn retired from the School of Kinesiology and Recreation seven years ago and has spent much of that time on her restoration efforts. She returned to ISU for her current position as chief clerk for the School of Information Technology to help fund the project and said most of the money she earns goes toward the restoration.
“It’s quite a large building. On the bottom floor, there’s going to be a coffee and ice cream shop. There’s a space that will be a tea room, and I have a theatre that should seat about 40 people. There’s also going to be an office on the bottom floor. Upstairs, there will eventually be a bed and breakfast, but that’s the last piece that I’m doing,” Ryburn said.
Since purchasing the building, located at 305 Pine St. in Normal, Ryburn has made over $90,000 in restorations, including restoring the ceiling, plastering and painting, installing two bathrooms, and countless other necessary repairs.
“I’m estimating [the restoration will be completed in] two years. It’s an absolutely huge building, so I have the upstairs and the downstairs to complete, and the complicating factor is I have no money, so that drags it out a little bit,” she said, laughingly.
In order to apply for grant funding for the restoration, the project must include volunteer labor hours. One way to gain some of those hours is to incorporate student work.
“I’ve described it as serendipitous,” Ryburn said, explaining how ISU students from three classes became involved in her restoration project.
Wendy VanderNoordaa, assistant professor of interior design, had mentioned she was looking for a new project for her students to do and looked to previous interior design professor Susan Winchip. Winchip’s husband Galen just so happened to have been hired by Ryburn to restore the windows of the Route 66 building, which eventually led to the student project.
“It was a really fulfilling and rewarding experience because we were dealing with real life situations rather than hypothetical ones. It also made us more motivated because we wanted [Ryburn] to like our design the most,” Alyssa Hall, sophomore interior design major, said.
Students involved in the project worked in seven teams to create seven unique designs for the proposed coffee and ice cream shop, theatre, or office space, all on the first floor of the building.
While developing their design for the coffee and ice cream shop — to be called Ray’s Coffee Shop — Hall and her teammates researched the history of Route 66 and the Art Deco design style, a detail Ryburn strongly encouraged them to incorporate into their concepts.
“We went to the building to get pictures of the space, we interviewed [Ryburn], we made floor plans, found all of the materials and furniture we wanted to use, we mapped out where everything should be, and just tried our best to incorporate her ideas and everything that she wanted,” Hall said.
On May 2, each group presented their projects to Ryburn. After reviewing each design concept, Ryburn will select three to incorporate into the restoration of the building.
“It was wonderful. They were so professional. They all presented display boards with examples of materials that might be used. It was very well done and I was really amazed at what they were able to come up with in terms of ideas for the use of the building,” Ryburn said.