(Waymart, May 6, 2022)… They have pinwheels you can spin, xylophone bars you can ring, solar-powered water walls, rope walls, vine walls and boxes to plant flowers from a wheelchair or standing up. These are no ordinary planters! More than a dozen Marywood University students in the fifth and last year of their undergraduate architecture program designed and built three colorful planters for the residents of Wayne Woodlands Manor, a skilled nursing facility in Waymart. Students installed the planters today in pouring rain, while residents watched from inside.
“They’re beautiful,” said Ruth Trella, a longtime Wayne Woodlands resident and co-president of the home’s Resident Council. “I wouldn’t think of half those things to put on a planter myself! People here are really going to like it.”
The project, funded mostly through a grant and donations, was the Architecture School’s first partnership with a community organization—a “client if you will,” said Assistant Professor Michelle Pannone, “and it was conceived to enhance this community’s quality of life.”
The planters were designed to offer engagement, relaxation and adaptability to the needs of the residents, many of whom are in wheelchairs or use walkers and are accompanied by aides. Each planter has two seats, embossed with either M for Marywood or the logo of Wayne Woodlands’ parent corporation, Wayne Memorial Health System.
The students in the “Design and Build” class explained the process to residents gathered in a main room at Wayne Woodlands. They talked about how they used color, touch and sound to enhance sensory stimulation and design techniques to improve social interaction and accessibility, such as the two “pocket” seats that fold up and down.
Wayne Woodlands’ Activities Director Marcy Podunajec and Administrator Mike Freund were thrilled about the project.
“It’s exciting,” said Marcy, “these students really did a wonderful job. We’re so grateful!”
It was the students’ very last day of school for the year, but there was talk of coming back on a sunny day when the residents could go outside and utilize the planters. “We want photos,” said one of them, smiling even in the rain.
Photo: Marywood University School of Architecture students pose with one of three planters they designed and built for Wayne Woodlands Manor, Waymart.