A group of nine Western Kentucky University seniors met Wednesday with Mayor Elaine Walker and a small group of city officials to discuss possible renovations at two locations in downtown Bowling Green.
Professor Laura Leach taught the small class of Architecture Documentation III students, who spent much of the fall semester examining 601 State St. and an old hardware store on College Street in an effort to redesign the existing properties, which currently aren’t in use.
“My students have spent the last four months on these two buildings,” Leach told a crowd gathered at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. “We’re very happy to show everyone what we’ve been working on.”
Architectural Design III spends the semester planning commercial construction. The class studies building construction, standards, materials and specifications while trying to potentially convince the city of their ideas. The presentation Wednesday was the result of months of planning and preparation.
“We crawled all over the buildings on State and College street(s),” Leach said. “We got to get dirty and have fun with the project, but we’re hoping what we produced can actually help the city.”
Walker and Leach had been trying to find a project for the class to work on after a previous class gave renovation options for the old jailhouse.
“I was really impressed with the additions and innovations made,” Walker said. “They have integrity and each idea is respectful to the history and original design of these buildings.”
Three teams of students worked on designs for 601 State St., while two other teams focused on a smaller hardware store on College Street.
“We try to bring out what the building could become,” Leach said. “These are older buildings but they’re historic. We want to help bring them back to life.”
The groups that worked on 601 State St. had wide-ranging ideas: from small shops and office space to a dueling piano dance club.
A wine bar and art house was suggested for the hardware store on College Street, as well as an upscale pizza restaurant.
“Of course, our direction isn’t set in stone yet,” Walker said. “Though the next thing to do is identify some entrepreneurs or small businesses that may be interested in pursuing some of the approaches we saw today.”