For the past 28 years, AS&U has brought together some of the leading education administrators and architects to judge outstanding school and university facilities for the November Architectural Portfolio. This year’s jury received a special treat—a tour of a school on the cutting-edge of programmatic and education facility design.
The Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) is a facility recently completed in the Blue Valley School District, Overland Park, Kan. The district has had a very active construction program for many years now, and Dave Hill, Blue Valley’s executive director of facilities and operations, has proven to be a visionary facilitator and proponent of innovative and responsible school design, construction and operation.
CAPS was created to inspire district students to succeed in the areas of bioscience, business, engineering, law and public safety, and more. The program and new facility, according to CAPS literature, "is an example of how industry and our educational system can work together to produce personalized learning experiences that prepare the next generation of professionals for 21st-century opportunities … CAPS is all about students solving real problems, with real tools used by professionals, being mentored by real employers, leading to real contribution."
The new facility, which opened last month, is a welcoming yet unassuming environment that packs a powerful punch. Designed to meet LEED Gold, the building includes equipment and learning spaces that rival some of the most advanced higher-education and professional research and academic facilities.
As we were lead on our tour by Hill and Donna Deeds, executive director of the CAPS program, it was evident the great expectation held by district staff for the program and facility—and the unique opportunity it will provide students.
All of us on the tour were impressed by the cutting-edge, innovative, bold nature of the CAPS program and facility. It was agreed that education facilities such as this will help shape a new vision for how we look at pedagogy and the facilities created to prepare new generations of students for a rapidly changing world.
View more information on CAPS.