Editor's Focus
Editor's Focus: Learning from the best

Editor's Focus: Learning from the best

What makes an outstanding school or university facility?

For many it is subjective: the type or style of furniture and fixtures; special accoutrements; a unique space or spaces that hold a special place for an occupant. But there are specific aspects of a building that must be included for any facility to be considered “outstanding.” These can include the abundance and quality of daylighting, energy efficiency, acoustics and much more.

Creating outstanding learning environments is a goal for every education administrator, facilities professional and planner. For more than 30 years, those school and university facilities that have exemplified the best in education design and planning have been profiled and honored in the pages of American School & University via its annual design competitions.

Judged by a distinguished panel of education administrative, facilities and architectural professionals, the projects highlighted in this issue showcase what every school and university facility should aspire towards. In the pages that follow, you will see dozens of examples of what education institutions across the nation are doing to provide exceptional learning environments and physical facilities for their students, staff and community.

This year’s top K-12 honor is awarded to the Milan Center for Innovative Studies, Milan, Mich. Designed by Fanning Howey, the Crow Island School Citation winner impressed the jurors. “This is what 21st century learning is all about.” Higher-education’s top award was presented to Purdue University, France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center Expansion and Renovation, West Lafayette, Ind. “Interactive and inviting,” commented the jury regarding the Moody Nolan-designed facility.

Special thanks to our exceptional jury, who tirelessly shared their expertise, knowledge, enthusiasm and good humor over two days reviewing projects for this year’s competition: Matt Dedeke, director of facilities, Leavenworth Public Schools, Kan.; Steve Kuhnen, principal, director of design, Bray Architects, Wisc.; and Ben Rossetti, project manager, architect, University of Georgia, Athens. And thank you to the architects and education institutions that shared their unique projects. May you find inspiration from them as you embark on your next project to create the next generation of exceptional learning environments.

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