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Interior Designer Katy Lucas Shares Her Strategies for Optimized Educational Spaces

July 1, 2024 · Insights

An educational space designed by Katy Lucas

Like education, design is an opportunity. Be it through art, science, math, or music, an education gives us a chance to apply what we know to better the world around us in meaningful ways. Likewise, through enhanced form, function, and engagement, good design is also devoted to making our experience in the world better. Katy Lucas, RID gets it. As an interior designer, she’s been involved in developing K-12 educational facilities for nearly 20 years. She shares the importance of maximizing the impact of educational spaces in any and every way possible.

“Good educational design is about getting students and teachers excited about learning,” says Lucas. She is a senior interior designer at Goodwyn Mills Cawood (GMC), a multi disciplined architecture and engineering firm with more than 20 offices across the southeastern United States. With a goal of purposeful design that nurtures and develops the next generation, Lucas leads interior design in GMC’s Birmingham, Alabama office on commissions big and small.

Given an opportunity to participate in GMC’s design for a new Intermediate School (3rd – 5th) in her hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama, Lucas was thrilled to give it her all. “I grew up in Fort Payne. My mother was a teacher. So, when the chance to work on the Little Ridge Intermediate School came up, I was ecstatic,” she shares.

Having worked with the Fort Payne City Schools and former Superintendent of Schools, Jim Cunningham, for some eight years before winning the Little Ridge commission, the GMC team appreciated the client’s desire for progressive educational facilities. Like many districts, Fort Payne was looking for ways to make the most of their budget. “As designers, we are continually challenged to be creative and use resources wisely.”

One way GMC maximized their resources was by rethinking the purpose and practicality of the school’s circulation and gathering spaces. Any school’s inherently high-traffic areas like hallways, cafeterias, and lobbies demand a resilient flooring solution. For generations, designers like Lucas have been specifying Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT), for a combination of value, durability, ease of maintenance, and long-lasting color. Armstrong Flooring has been the biggest name in VCT for decades and by a significant margin.

Katy Lucas is intentional with each decision she makes when designing spaces, aiming to create mindful, positive environments to support student’s learning and creativity. 

Katy Lucas

Katy Lucas

Senior Interior Designer

Tel: 205-879-4462

About Katy Lucas