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Student store gets an IKEA revamp

Middle school student government teams with the Burbank store to give space a new look.

March 03, 2012|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

The Luther Middle School student store has operated at the center of campus for decades, serving as a gathering spot for students looking to check out sports equipment and purchase after-school snacks.

But in recent years the 200-square-foot, free-standing space had fallen into disrepair. The cracked tile floor was covered with an impenetrable layer of grime and hundreds of student signatures — the oldest dated 1972 — covered the walls and furnishings.

“The student store was in vast need of repair,” student government advisor Lucy Bowers said.

So in August, Bowers set out with a core group of student leaders to give the facility an upgrade. After several months of strategizing, they took the first step of covering the dull gray exterior with a couple fresh coats of green and yellow paint — the middle school’s official colors.

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Working with Principal Anita Shackmann, they forwarded several photos and a project description to local IKEA officials seeking support.

The home products company responded en force, deploying staff with multiple interior design options to collaborate with the students and ensure that functionality of the space was maximized.

“The students were very active in the design,” Bowers said.

The end product — unveiled with flourish at a grand reopening Friday — included new floors, light fixtures, shelving and counter space. A full-sized refrigerator had replaced a mini-fridge that was so tiny that Bowers had to restock it every other day.

“Everything happened so fast,” said student body President Miguel Delgado, 13, who helped coordinate the project. “We are really happy with the outcome.”

Staff, students and parents crowded around a pair of matching split doors to get a peek at the interior. The revamped student store is not only a more hospitable environment for the student government members who man it, but also a compelling sales pitch, Miguel said.

“Now I think we will have a lot more customers excited to go to the student store,” he said.

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