A New Look for Alumni Hall

by Cynthia Tintorri, photos by Adam Atkinson
January 19, 2012

Alumni Hall 130, all dressed up for Classical CuisineWhen it came time to update the look of Northampton Community College's prime special event space, Alumni Hall, those in charge sought the help of the experts -- students from NCC's interior design program.

Designs from several student groups were presented as the culminating project for the commercial interior design studio class. The design of Karrie Snyder '11 and her partner, Wandra Cain, was chosen. Since Snyder had graduated from the program at the time the update got rolling, she was the one to oversee the design's implementation.

Real-world projects are the mainstay of the interior design program's studio classes. Program instructor Dan Ebner explains, "We take students out into the field, to commercial spaces, restaurants, homes. They meet with real clients; they come up with actual designs."

Before preparing their designs, Snyder and her classmates met with Sharon Zondag, planned and major gifts officer in the College's Institutional Advancement division, to discuss Alumni Hall and the various functions the space is used for. "We then presented ideas that would work for a meeting and classroom space that is also used to host nice dinners.

"We were going for functional and durable, yet elegant," Snyder explains.

"I did tweak the design somewhat," she says. "When we're working as students in the studio, we use a different set of samples to create our designs." When the project was green-lighted, Snyder had to find similar carpet, paint, fabric and wallpaper that was actually in stock at the time.

Snyder chose colors that are "bright, but neutral and pleasing, so the space won't look dated in a few years." She used a dark gold grasscloth wallpaper and gold-beige paint for the walls, and NCC blue in the carpets, incorporating the College's diamond logo as a design element. New frosted glass doors in Alumni 130 also feature the NCC "diamond N" etched into the glass. Couches from the lobby area outside Hampton Winds restaurant were reused, now dressed up with dark blue tweed slipcovers.

The first "test-drive" of the newly redone space was the Classical Cuisine event, a Hawaiian luau held on Wednesday, January 18. To see more photos of the space, visit the Flickr gallery from the event.

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