Covered Bridge Park, in downtown Elizabethton, Tennessee, is named for the historic covered bridge that spans the Doe River. The 2.25-acre park includes a small fountain, two pavilions, a gazebo, picnic tables and a large multiuse stage. Photo courtesy of IDEXlab

An expression wall, solar panel lighting and an in-ground amphitheater were just a few of the ideas that a group of Appalachian State University undergraduate students presented in a master plan to bring new life to two older parks in the city of Elizabethton, Tennessee.

The students were part of a design team from Appalachian’s Integrative Design Experience Laboratory (IDEXlab). They’re working with city officials and the community to update Covered Bridge and Edwards Island parks over the course of the 2017-18 school year and expect to deliver a completed schematic design master plan in May.

The IDEXlab, a program within Appalachian’s Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, offers students a chance to take their classroom learning and practice into a real-life setting, said Chelsea Helms, practitioner-in-residence in building science who serves as faculty advisor to the IDEXlab. The students receive course credit and experience working on community-based projects, and clients sponsor the studio, which covers costs for materials and workshops to support the project.

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Written by Mary Giunca. Originally posted February 27, 2018.

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