Editor's Focus: Examples to Build On

As the country languishes in the economic doldrums, education construction spending remains one of the few bright spots in what is turning out to be among the worst economic periods in history.

To meet burgeoning enrollment, address new program and community demands, and upgrade dilapidated facilities, school districts and colleges are putting in place a record amount of construction spending — and estimates show that education institutions will continue this rapid pace of building for years to come.

As part of our goal to help you make informed decisions about facilities and construction, American School & University presents this year's Educational Interiors Showcase. In its 12th year, it is the first, largest and most prestigious education interior design competition in the industry. The 2002 compendium highlights more than 100 outstanding school and university learning environments.

Over the past dozen years, education administrators and architects have shared their innovative solutions to providing exemplary learning environments through the projects published in the Educational Interiors Showcase. This year, a panel of experts awarded 14 citations to projects they felt represented the best of the best.

The top K-12 honor — the Crow Island School Citation — was awarded to Phillips Exeter Academy, Phelps Science Center, Exeter, N.H., designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners. Among the jury comments: “An outstanding project — a model for others to emulate.”

The top higher-education honor — the Collegiate Citation — was awarded to Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Worcester, designed by SBA/Steffian Bradley Associates. “Wow! An incredible transformation,” commented the jury.

In addition to the two main awards, this year's jury awarded three Special Citations due to the unique aspects of the projects and the innovative solutions offered. Other outstanding projects were presented with Gold, Silver and Bronze citations.

Our deepest gratitude to this year's knowledgeable jury — Dave Hill, executive director of facilities and operations, Blue Valley School District, Kan.; Alan Bigger, director of building services, University of Notre Dame, Ind.; and Kevin Greischar, principal, Greischar Dungan Architects, Kan. You can meet the jury and review its commentary by turning to pages 10 and 12, respectively.

And special thanks to the architectural firms and institutions that submitted projects judged for this issue. Their sharing of innovative ideas and solutions can serve as excellent examples as you embark on your next construction project.

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