Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture and Design has partnered with Hollywood, Fla.-based Avante Group to craft a program that taps into the creative minds of the university’s design students “to bring a fresh approach that will enhance and improve the residents’ lifestyles and improve caregiver access,” Avante announced in a May press release.

VA Tech School of Architecture & Design“We feel that the future design and innovation for our industry will come from a new source, and Virginia Tech is a leader in this area; however, they will need industry guidance,” said Steven Marhee, director of business development for Avante.

The projects, which began with the university’s spring semester this year, include the creation of a design plan for a senior care setting that gives a more homelike environment to the facility. “One that mirrors the technological advances in our world today yet creates an environment of familiarity and warmth that can improve the psychosocial well-being of residents,” the release said.

Avante at Roanoke, a skilled nursing facility near Virginia Tech, provides the students with a hands-on experience in a nursing home.

“We are pleased and excited to be working with Avante on this program,” said Lisa Tucker, chair of the interior design program.

“This project gives our students an opportunity to tackle a real-life challenge in a growing and important industry.

The experience they gain and feedback they receive while working with Avante will not only benefit them academically, but also their future career.”