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Walking Path
Above: The walking path features a 250-foot long mural created by a College of Health Sciences and College of Design partnership.

Walking Path brings together Design and Physical Therapy students

By Gina Ehrhard, CHS Intern

LEXINGTON, Ky. – May 11, 2009 Students from two very distinct disciplines – architecture and physical therapy – recently joined forces to promote art and health on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The two groups worked together to create an artistic and functional walking path in the Charles T. Wethington Jr. Building, which houses the College of Health Sciences and research space.

"The walking path project benefited the students because they were able to see how other disciplines work," said Deborah Kelly, faculty member from the College of Health Sciences Physical Therapy Division. "I really feel that we connected the medical campus to the main campus."

Kelly initiated the project because she wanted to develop an environment on campus that promotes exercise and healthy lifestyles on campus. The Wethington building, which is home to the physical therapy program, housed the perfect space for a walkway in its basement.

"When passing through the hallway, I always felt like it was just a big, boring space," said Kelly, a MSEd graduate of the College of Education. "I figured there should be a simple way to make the space better."

She soon enlisted her husband, Dr. Bob Kelly, a faculty member and graduate of the College of Design, and students from both the design and physical therapy programs. Together this group formulated a plan to transform the hallway into an enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing place to walk.

To begin, physical therapy students began researching ways to transform the space into an area students, faculty and employees of the university and medical center could use for short bouts of walking. Next, students from the College of Design were challenged to come up with an art concept for the corridor that found a balance between the abstract and literal.

"I was not sure what was possible," said Bob Kelly. "At first I conceptualized the project as being very simple because it is such a long hallway and I did not think we could do any more than simply add paint."

But the design students had a more ambitious idea in mind. By the end of the project, they had created a 250-foot-long mural depicting tall grass, insects, stretching silhouettes and abstract shapes. These students were in charge of developing design ideas, streamlining their design process and researching lettering and vinyl silhouette costs.

"I felt that helping to develop the walking path was a great learning experience that helped me appreciate all aspects of design," said Sarah House, University of Kentucky physical therapy student and member of the walking path team. "I also feel very lucky to have been part of something that encourages an active lifestyle."

"It is reassuring to know that this walking path has given people a means to incorporate exercise into their busy schedules," said Anne Ogundele, a physical therapy student. "Hopefully this encourages more people to not only exercise, but exercise with others in a stimulating environment."

Plans to enhance the path are underway.

"If we had the funding we would really love to add sound or light," said Bob Kelly.

However, both Deborah and Bob are proud of the present state of the walking path.

"I'm thrilled. It is exactly what I imagined," said Deborah Kelly.

The walking path is open to all employees and students. It is in the lower level of the Charles T. Wethington, Jr. building, located at the corner of Limestone Street and Rose Street.


Student participants:

Architecture: Al Ataide, Matt Knowles, Bart Gillespie, Jeff Guiducci-Koontz

Physical Therapy: Jennifer Harris, Sarah House, Anne Ogundule


For more information about the Physical Therapy program, visit

Photo: Jennifer McKeon, Ph.D., ATC

PT Associate Professor Deborah Kelly and her husband, College of Design faculty member Dr. Bob Kelly, led the walkway project.

View Deborah Kelly's Faculty Page

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