Designing the Campus with Students in Mind
April 08, 2024
Traci Bergmann

Traci Bergmann has worked for Stanislaus State for 21 years as a space planner and designer. She helps design a variety of spaces at Stan State’s Turlock and Stockton campuses including everything from furniture to fixtures. Bergmann’s versatile designs were recently recognized with two awards from the Association of University Interior Designers (AUID). She received a second-place award in the “Student Life and Academics Category” for the recent Vasché Library renovation and a third-place award for “Miscellaneous Campus Spaces” for the design of the new Demergasso-Bava Hall plaza. 

When a construction or renovation project is underway at the University, Bergmann works with a team on the interior design to select every element, including carpeting and window coverings. She works closely with colleagues in Capital Planning and Facilities Management (CPFM), and she values their collaboration.  

“We all work together and bounce ideas off each other. The work our team is doing is great, partially because we respect each other’s talents and skills,” Bergmann said. 

Many people found the pandemic challenging, but the CPFM team took advantage of the mostly empty campus. When students were learning remotely, they designed the Demergasso-Bava Hall (DBH) plaza. 

“The space was really not functional, and a lot of energy was going into maintaining it,” Bergmann said. 

The existing pond was filled in, and the area was made into a plaza, complete with outdoor furniture that Bergmann helped select.  

The new DBH plaza features mixed seating, with booths with high walls, high and low seats, and benches with individual and mixed-use space. 

“There is something for everyone,” Bergmann said. 

She was surprised to win the national awards from AUID, competing with colleges and universities from all over the country.

“I want to have a campus that shows school spirit, where students care about the environment they are living in.”

-Traci Bergmann, Stan State Space Planner / Designer

“Traci was instrumental in providing guidance and helping the Library work effectively with the interior designers from our contracted architectural firm,” said Dean of Library Services Ron Rodriguez. “While the interior designers provided a conceptual look with the use of color and varied furniture to suit the many sitting and study needs, Traci introduced the Library to furniture providers who could make the interior designers’ vision come to life.”  

According to Bergmann, the old computer labs were dark and dreary, and the chairs were mismatched. Now, the Library is open and airy with natural light shining on comfortable chairs.  

Completed in 2021, the updated interiors of the renovated Library feature functional and stylish furniture. The entire building is color coordinated, with warm gold, orange and red tones in the design concept for the areas that are collaborative and interactive, while blue zones indicate areas meant to quiet work and study spaces. The architect created the color zone concept, and Bergmann selected the furniture and materials. 

“I like the fabric that I used on the banquettes in the café,” Bergmann said. “It incorporates all of the colors in the building and really came together with the red chairs.” 

For most projects, she starts planning a design and picking the furniture a year in advance. She arranges everything from the color and size of each piece. She tries to purchase materials from manufacturers who care about sustainability. Working closely with Jennifer Daniels, Stan State sustainability specialist. Bergmann said she wants to focus even more on sustainability in her work. 

“She’s done some amazing work that the campus community uses daily, and most people don’t think twice about the process behind interior design,” Daniels said. 

Bergmann also looks for furnishings with a commercial warranty for 10 years, so the University doesn’t have to constantly purchase new items. 

“I try really hard to stand behind what I am recommending; I want it to hold up and look good, so I am always reading articles on design trends,” Bergmann said. “I think about what I would want and how I would use it if I were a student.” 

She often walks around campus and sees how students are using the spaces she designs, paying special attention to electronic charging areas in the furniture, the lighting and shade. 

“I want to have a campus that shows school spirit where students care about the environment they are living in,” Bergmann said. “I think it is part of what keeps students here or grabs their attention when they tour campus.” 

According to Bergmann, picking out furniture for the campus is a learning experience. She has used products that she loves and has also bought furniture that doesn’t fit the needs of the students that she will not purchase again. “I try my best to help, and it makes me feel good to see students enjoying the space I design,” she said.  

Currently, she is working on the new Child Development Center building, the new academic building at the Stockton Campus, recycling stations in Main Dining and she is remodeling a conference room for a health center/wellness space. 

“Students are our heart and soul,” said Sr. Director Planning, Designing & Sustainability Kat Marian. “The grounds and buildings are here to support them in their journey. The impact of Traci’s work can be seen in how well students utilize the spaces and how the spaces provide an atmosphere for collaboration, quiet study, reflection and social interactions.”