Ball State University senior Mackenzie Park of Bluffton and 13 other students are creating design blueprints for an Indianapolis foundation that uses horseback riding as therapeutic treatment.

The Children’s TherAplay Foundation offers physical and occupational therapies to Indianapolis children. With the implementation of hippotherapy, or the use of horseback riding as therapeutic treatment, the organization treats around 170 children with special needs each week.

The not-for-profit organization is expanding its facility, and the students are working on the design stages from beginning to end.

“After our design was finished, Children’s TherAplay created a final design that would best fit its needs,” Park said. “We are now in the process of creating construction documents, or contracts, for it to be built in the near future.”

Park and the other students are carrying out research, interviews, and surveys, and collaborating with the client to create the best possible design to fit the needs of the client and their patients.

“The students are in charge of most of the design process,” Dr. Shireen Kanakri, faculty adviser for the project, said. “They are doing all of the major parts of creating designs and blueprints, such as zoning and examining the areas requirements, and then going back to the client to receive approval for their work.”

Park is working toward a degree in construction management and interior design with a minor in business administration. Upon graduation, she hopes to own a design-build firm focusing on recreational commercial facilities.

“The opportunity to work with real clients and get real-world experience creating a design that will be built is truly helping me to prepare for my future,” Park said. “Ball State has given me many opportunities like this to strengthen my skills and allows me to network with many people I would have never imagined meeting.”

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