January 14, 2013, by Jeremy Holland

The Joy of Being a School Designer

I've been with SHP Leading Design since March of 2010, and attended my first Opening Ceremony yesterday.  It was the opening of Bloom-Carroll Middle School, my first project I saw through from ideas floating in the air and sketched on napkins, to being full of excited staff and students at the open house on January 13, 2013.

Although I have worked on many different projects throughout my career, all over the world, it was a nice experience to work on something somewhat local to me.  One of the things that attracted me to SHP was the fact that they influence communities and many of the projects I now play a role in are facilities I would visit, my friends and family may be patrons of, and quite possibly, a school my own daughter might attend.  That knowledge carries a significant weight to the effort we put forth when developing the best design with our clients needs and budgets in mind.

Walking through the Bloom-Carroll Middle school yesterday, I couldn't help but notice several of the features that were in the original designs didn't make the cut when when it came to budget constraints, but in the end no one really cared about those details.  In the end the kids were excited that they had a new environment to learn in, one that didn't require them to bounce from trailer to trailer in the cold weather and do science experiments in the hallways because of the classroom limitations.  Watching the teachers, some brought to tears, as they prepared their desks and new classrooms for the classes that would begin the next day and looking forward to the opportunity to teach their students in a way that was rendered impossible in a nearly 90-year old school that served as home previously.

Realizing that I, in some small way, played a roll in making the lives of tens of thousands of students and hundreds of teachers that would grace the halls of the new middle school in the coming years; healthier, safer, and more comfortable - left me feeling good on the drive home.  Reflecting on the projects I would begin work on the next day, with renewed zeal and commitment, knowing that same feeling would return upon seeing those projects completed in the coming months.

By looking for opportunities to design even more creative, sustainable, and  energy-efficient buildings, we are contributing to the successful lives of or neighbors, friends, family and future.