Partnership Pairs Education, Architecture Students to Plan & Design Schools

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: April 14, 2010

Construction of a new school is usually the single largest expenditure a school district makes, so school superintendents and architects need to work together to meet a community's needs and desires - and a Texas A&M student team is collaborating to help in the process. Students in a school design studio in the College of Architecture are collaborating with educational administration students in the College of Education and Human Development to help educators design new schools.

Each group of architecture students has one or two doctoral students from the Executive Leadership Program in educational administration as its "client/superintendent" in the design process, says Virginia Collier, clinical associate professor of public school administration in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development. Christopher Stein, a doctoral student in the Executive Leadership Program, describes how he has learned the importance of working alongside architects. "The class has opened my eyes to the complex nature of building a school and the collaboration needed between many parties to successfully complete construction," he says. "I have particularly become interested in the financial aspects of bonds to fund the building projects - something I knew very little about before this experience." Collier, from the College of Education, and Bob Johnson of the College of Architecture, lead the collaboration.

This is the first semester it has been implemented. The students plan to design 10 new schools throughout the semester. Collier notes that planning and building schools are important for a community. "Not only do schools impact the learning that occurs within them, but they are often seen as symbols of the community itself," she says."The school is often the location where the community's rituals and traditions are maintained. There are schools across the state that are over 100 years old and still in use today. "It is important for architects and school administrators to work together to ensure the schools they build are constructed to fill both their functional and symbolic roles."