Interior Design Students Delve into Pediatric Healthcare Design with Baton Rouge General


LSU interior design students recently proposed designs and environmental branding for the pediatric center at Baton Rouge General Hospital to hospital representatives. The studio was taught by Associate Professor TL Ritchie and Ruth Z. McCoy Professor Marsha Cuddeback, who established a relationship with community partner Janice Dreher, the head of nursing in pediatrics at Baton Rouge General. The students presented their designs during final reviews at the end of the spring 2014 semester.

Janice Dreher, head of nursing in pediatrics at Baton Rouge General Hospital, reviews projects by third-year LSU interior design students

Janice Dreher, head of nursing in pediatrics at Baton Rouge General Hospital, reviews projects by third-year LSU interior design students

At the beginning of the semester, the students visited the pediatric units at Baton Rouge General. Half of the students worked on redesigning the Bluebonnet site; half worked on the Mid City location. Dreher led the students on a tour of the hospital and discussed the importance of recognizing the needs of special populations in healthcare design. During the site visit, the students took measurements and photographs and interviewed the staff, nurses, and patients. “It was exciting for my staff to see the passion we feel for our patients reflected in the students’ questions and requests for information,” said Dreher.

“Working with community partner Janice Dreher from the Baton Rouge General Hospital Pediatric Center gave the third-year design students the opportunity to delve into the challenging complexities of pediatric healthcare design. These types of community engagement projects are extremely rewarding and motivating for the design students,” Ritchie said.

After the thrill of presenting the possibilities of a new identity and design for the center to the hospital representatives, the students also received critiques from local interior designers and architects, including Rick Lipscomb, principal of American College of Healthcare Architects; Angelle Lavergne of WHLC|Architecture; Tracy Burns, adjunct instructor and principal of Commercial Design Interiors; DeLisa Arnold, principal and interior designer at Arnold and Associates; Mary Miles, interior designer; and Fabie Bennet Debigny of Tipton Associates. Jim Sullivan, chair of the School of Interior Design, Dean Alkis Tsolakis, and LSU College of Art & Design faculty Robert Zwirn, Jason Lockhart, Kristen Kelsch, and Michael Desmond also attended the critique and offered valuable comments to the students during their reviews.

The students’ proposals were well-received and represented a range of creative and original concepts. Dreher hopes to use some of the students’ ideas to start a fundraising campaign to redesign the pediatric center at the Bluebonnet location.

“The research the students did using lighting, color, safety, and many other aspects in their designs will help Baton Rouge General to move forward in designing a new playroom for our pediatric patients. The staff and I felt very privileged and honored to have had this collaboration with the interior design school. I hope to work with them again in the future,” added Dreher.


Kelsey Sulik
Inviting, Intimate, Comforting, Safe, Organized
The new Baton Rouge General Pediatric Unit design is inspired by nature and growth. My goal for this design is to relieve the stress of patients and families during their stay at the hospital by providing a comfortable and positively stimulating atmosphere. The whimsical large-scale trees welcome young patients and their families and invite them to use their imaginations while spending time at the hospital. The design allows users to feel as comfortable as possible with facilities that accommodate the personal needs of the patients and their families.


Ellie Boggs: Imagine Healing
Comfortable, Energizing, Imaginative, Resourceful, Clean-Ability


Brandy Balthazar: Arches
Intimate, Children, Comforting, Innovative, Fresh
The intent of this design is to create a pediatric unit that promotes a welcoming and stress-free healing environment inspired by Zen design. The combination of earth and natural tones will help keep the patients’ spirits and energy up without overly exciting them. The use of repeating arches will serve as a familiar design element that is continuous throughout. Walking through the pediatric unit, patients, family, and staff will feel uplifted and at ease.


Ashley Libys: Healing Wings
Familiarity, Lively, Original, Community, Knowledgeable
Louisiana is home to many colorful birds. Six of these birds were highlighted and transformed into vibrant origami figures that children can relate to because they are attached to paper crafts. The concept focuses on bird flocks because a flock travels together as a family, much as the hospital unit functions as a close-knit group. The design of Mid City Pediatric Unit in Baton Rouge aims to comfort and help children heal during their stay through distraction from their reality as well as feeling like they are in a home away from home. The color scheme chosen emphasizes the three-dimensional origami birds and the Mississippi River as the vibrant focal points to highlight the theme. The surrounding areas are all neutral earth tones to make the bright bird colors stand out. By combining Louisiana bird flocks and their local habitats with origami paper crafts, everyone who visits the pediatric unit will feel as if they are a part of a secondary Louisiana family, distracting them from the medical and physical struggles of reality.


Healing Hues: Choosing the Right Colors in Pediatric Healthcare
Infographic by Caroline Gremillion, Kelsey Sulik, Amber Singleton, and Anna Mitchell
Color can easily define a space or refresh a room to create a visually pleasing display. In addition, research shows that color directly influences human behavior. You may not realize it, but color has an impact on your emotional and physical state. People are manipulated by colors in different ways to serve specific purposes. In pediatric healthcare, colors are very important for the healing process. In order to accurately apply a color to the appropriate space with the suitable proportion, the knowledge of each color’s behavior and effects is key.

Visit for more information about the pediatric unit at Baton Rouge General.

About LSU School of Interior Design
The LSU School of Interior Design is a CIDA accredited program that emphasizes creative problem solving, skills in research and analysis, and professional preparedness. Student activities are supported in the design studios, which form the core of the program’s educational experience. Liberal arts, communication, and technical courses are required and complement the program’s strong emphasis on design. For more information, visit

Angela Harwood
Communications Coordinator
LSU College of Art + Design
102 Design Building
Baton Rouge, LA 70803