Students vote on furniture styles for Main Street Suites

Clarion, Pa.- As the Main Street suites near completion, students and staff were given the opportunity to vote on furnishings of the new dorm rooms and lounges.

Students test furniture at the Vendor Fair.
Students test furniture at the Vendor Fair.

Four furniture vendors participated in a Vendor Fair hosted by Education Realty Trust, a real estate coordinator hired by the university foundation to purchase furnishings for the new suites.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, students and staff were given the opportunity to view the four styles of furniture, test the furniture and vote for their favorites.

EdR, a leader in the collegiate housing industry since 1964, was appointed development coordinator of the Main Street Suites and placed in charge of selecting the university furnishings.

They conducted a survey among Clarion University students in the beginning of the fall semester, in which students were shown examples of traditional, contemporary and modern styles of furniture. The series of voting concluded that CU students favored a more modern style of furniture.

EdR then selected four furniture vendors, Butler Woodcrafters, Leeder Furniture, Savoy and University Furnishings, to present their representation of modern style dorm room and lounge furniture.

Charles Harris, EdR’s senior vice president of Real Estate Development, explained the Vendor Fair.

He said, “The objection of the fair is to use a point system and develop a clear picture from the votes of the students to see what they type of furniture they prefer in their own rooms.”

Crystal McCain, EdR’s associate for the International Interior Design Association and junior designer was glad to see active student participation. “When we chose the four vendors, we were not only choosing providers within our allowed budget, but providers for who we knew would provide pieces that of quality,” she added.

McCain described how EdR has helped furnish several PASSHE schools and was also involved in the furnishing of the Reinhard Villages.

Jamie Jones, sophomore history major, was one of the many students who visited the Vendor Fair.

Jones visited all four of the furniture vendors, stating, “They are all really nice sets. I enjoyed sitting in the couch from the University Furnishings set, but I really liked the Savoy set. Their swivel chair is super nice and comfortable.”

Kelly Uhland, a Savoy representative, was one of  the only furniture vendors to showcase wood-based pieces.

The 70 -year-old company located in Motoursville Pa, was also one of the only vendors to produce and manufacture their pieces in Pennsylvania. Uhland described how the company has provided furnishings for nearby schools such as Penn State and University of Pittsburg.

Uhland said, “We believe that the wood style of furniture is still in style, especially the darker colors. We recently redesigned our desks and coffee tables, building them strong like a tank yet fitting the modern college dorm style.”

Uhland added how their most unique piece of furniture was their desk, which included open shelve space and a charging unit.

William White, junior second education English major, said how his favorite furniture piece was in fact the Savoy desk. “I found the Savoy desk appealing for its size. In comparison to what I have now, at my desk I am too cramped.”

White continued, “Even though I live off campus and probably will never get the chance to live in the new dorms, I liked being given the opportunity to choose living arrangements for the upcoming freshmen based on what I would like to have.”

Lisa Dillon, University Furnishings representative, described how her company, based in Dallas, Texas, strives to supply contemporary furnishings that are versatile, ‘durably hip and stylishly strong.’

“Our couches are made with micro-suede fabric, while our desks and bed are made of all-steel frames. The drawer chests and mobile shelves under the desk offer a 100 lb. ball bearing drawer glides,” said Dillon.

“In our pieces, we strive for strength, durability and cost of ownership,” said Ken Baehr, Leeder Furniture representative. Based in Lake Forest Illinois, Baehr described how Leeder focuses on more modular pieces.

Baehr added, “We found that students like flexibility. They can bunk, lift and move their bed themselves, rather than wait for work request or until they find the bed posts. We also host a pizza party for all of the students after installation of our products, which students seem to like.”

An optional charging station for the bed and a dry erase board incorporated in the desk were key features of the Butler Woodcrafters furniture set based in Richmond, Virginia.

Representative Bill Levine expressed how his pieces are “nice, comfy, inviting and doesn’t scream Resident Hall. We recently provided furniture pieces for a fraternity house here on campus, as well as for local universities such as Gannon and Mercyhurst.”

Kate Nedorw, sophomore alethic trainer major, described some key features that she was looking for in her furniture selection. “I currently live in Valley View, so I have some of the older stuff. I would like to have a desk chair with wheels, because I like to roll around the room,” she added.

Nedorw continued, “I would also like to have a lower desk and a chair with arms. I hate armless chairs.”

Harris added, “We hope to have the results of the student and staff selection by either the end of finals week. The furniture sets will have to be ordered, delivered and ready for the fall 2015 opening of the new suites.”

Harris concluded, “We held this fair in order to truly get the students involved so that they can see the furniture, feel it, touch it, talk to the representatives and get a feel for what they will have in their new rooms. They have the choice and the opportunity to pick what style of bed or desk that will be placed in their dorm rooms a little under a year from now.”

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