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Planning for community engagement: Drexel University creates the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

DURING THE GRAND OPENING OF DREXEL UNIVERSITY'S Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships in Philadelphia in June 2014, one of the speakers remarked that the center's opening and dedication ceremony was the culmination of a participatory stakeholder planning process that had spanned the previous two years. The implication that the ceremony represented a wrapping-up, however, does not quite tell the whole story. The Dornsife Center was launched through a process that charted programming content, operations, and design, certainly--but this comprehensive planning process is iterative and continuous and is bundled into both the facility's design and its ongoing daily operations.

This article first situates the conception and creation of the Dornsife Center within the Drexel-driven framework for planning institutional civic engagement. This focus on the planning process is followed by a discussion of the center's implementation: funding, design, and early outcomes.

THE IDEA: AN EXTENSION CENTER AT A PRIVATE URBAN UNIVERSITY

The impetus to establish the Dornsife Center came from both inside and outside the university. Inside the institution, a growing emphasis on civic engagement laid the internal groundwork; outside, neighborhood planning processes in the communities closest to Drexel's University City campus identified a local interest in transforming the traditionally contentious relationship between the university and its neighbors into something more integrated and constructive.

INSIDE THE UNIVERSITY: FORMALIZING AND FRAMING GOALS AND PRACTICES FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

In his 2010 convocation address, then-new Drexel University president John Fry announced his goal to make Drexel the most civically engaged university in the nation (Drexel University Office of the President 2010). The Office of University and Community Partnerships, which was created to implement this vision, rolled out a set of principles and strategies that would guide implementation. The Dornsife Center would emerge as a physical hub for this work.

In fact, the university was already poised to formalize President Fry's goal, with a number of existing and carefully designed community-facing programs and research projects underscoring a growing movement among faculty and students toward more connection with community-level stakeholders outside the institution. The Lindy Center for Civic Engagement, the College of Nursing and Health Profession's 11th Street Clinic, the School of Public Health's Center for Hunger-Free Communities, and the multidisciplinary Urban Sustainability Initiative are just a few examples of programs designed and driven by faculty members and administrative staff who have been increasingly committed to participatory research methodologies and pedagogies.

Drexel's framework for civic engagement (figure 1) includes three dimensions of civic engagement drawn from the core functions of the institution:

[much greater than] Academic engagement: connecting the research, teaching, and clinical practices to community partners for the purpose of collaborative problem solving.

[much greater than] Service and volunteerism: involving students, faculty, and staff.

[much greater than] Institutional activity: supporting local economic development procurement, employment, and strategic business practices.

This framework defines three distinct ways in which the institution can carry out engagement with community partners.

In addition, Drexel has identified a set of neighborhood initiatives that frame how the university as an anchor institution works with the communities immediately contiguous to the University City campus: Mantua, Powelton Village, and West Powelton. These initiatives help situate Drexel's framework for institutional civic engagement within a broad national conversation about anchor institution behavior, planning, and metrics. Academic institutions around the country are engaging in local development and using tools like the University of Maryland Democracy Collaborative's Anchor Dashboard (Dubb, McKinley, and Howard 2013) to frame their approaches and strategies. While some fairly interesting development work has been done by other academic institutions in Philadelphia, Drexel links its work to this national-level conversation.

Based on the university's experience as a stakeholder participating in neighborhood planning processes (Mantua and Lancaster Avenue, the retail corridor in West Powelton), the Office of University and Community Partnerships identified six strategies for Drexel's neighborhood initiatives. These strategies also line up closely with strategies identified by the Democracy Collaborative.

[much greater than] Clean, safe, and sustainable infrastructure: investing in both greening and public safety.

[much greater than] Health and wellness: supporting access to fresh food, health information, and other aspects of health care and physical activity.

[much greater than] Retail and arts: looking in particular at the Lancaster Avenue corridor, driving traffic to local retail as well as providing other institutional supports.

[much greater than] Education: engaging in long-term partnerships with two local public schools to provide curricular and behavioral supports.

[much greater than] Economic vitality: providing employment access and local business supports.

[much greater than] Housing: supporting homeownership while mediating the impacts of student housing in the neighborhoods. In pursuing these strategies, Drexel acts both as a convener bringing relevant organizations together around common strategies and as an institution housing specific sets of knowledge and expertise.

AMONG LOCAL PARTNERS: A DRIVE FOR BETTER ACCESS TO UNIVERSITY RESOURCES

As Drexel organized internally under John Fry's leadership to formalize its goals for civic engagement, it was also participating as a local stakeholder in neighborhood planning processes. Vice Provost for University and Community Partnerships Lucy Kerman represented the university in We Are Mantua (Kitchen & Associates 2012), a HUD-funded Choice Neighborhoods planning process, as well as in Make Your Mark, a community plan for Lancaster Avenue, a local retail corridor (Interface Studio and V Lamar Wilson Associates 2012).

Both of these planning processes saw community participants identify Drexel as a key partner in achieving the goals set out in the community plans, particularly through the sharing of knowledge resources and expertise in areas identified as priorities.

CREATING A PHYSICAL HUB FOR NEIGHBORHOOD ENGAGEMENT

Out of these parallel developments both inside and outside the institution emerged the notion to take a cue from the land-grant university tradition of cooperative extension as a model for university engagement with stakeholders. Drexel gives this tradition a twist, though: where cooperative extension at land-grant agricultural schools usually encompasses programming like technical assistance to the agricultural sector, Drexel envisioned extension that leverages the expertise and resources of each of the university's colleges and schools for the purpose of collaborative problem solving. The geographic focus of the center would be hyper-local, diverging from the statewide or countywide focus of traditional extension, to create a hub for building a new sense of community among Drexel, Powelton Village, and Mantua. In this section we describe the stakeholder vision planning process that Drexel launched followed by a discussion of the nuts-and-bolts planning for funding and design.

A NEW SITE AND A STAKEHOLDER PLANNING WORKSHOP

With the assistance of Philip Lindy, a major donor to Drexel's civic engagement programs, the university was able to secure a property located at 3509 Spring Garden Street that came up for sale at the time that Drexel staff were beginning to frame the idea of an extension center. The 1.3-acre site was originally built in the mid-19th century as a private residence with a carriage house; the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia acquired the property in the 1940s to establish a school for deaf children and added a two-story school building (Powelton Village 2013). The location on Spring Garden Street, the generally acknowledged boundary between Powelton Village and Mantua, suggested that the site would be uniquely situated to serve those two neighborhoods (figure 2).

After the site was secured by Lindy in October 2012, Drexel received a large gift from David and Dana Dornsife to fund a renovation. The site was named the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, and the Office of University and Community Partnerships launched a stakeholder planning process as a way to integrate the new center into the priorities of not only Powelton Village and Mantua but also the Drexel community of faculty, students, and staff.

The office chose to use the Future Search planning framework since staff already had experience and familiarity with this method through other project launch efforts at Drexel. Future Search is a meeting style--a consensus-building process that brings together participants from a range of perspectives and experiences who have some combination of authority, resources, expertise, information, and need relating to a particular issue. The workshops are arranged to span about 16 hours over multiple days. Participants examine their past, present, and desired future to discover common ground and develop concrete action plans. Future Search calls for getting "the whole system in the room," which means including a broad set of relevant stakeholder representatives in the planning event to ensure a comprehensive understanding of needs and interests (Weisbord and Janoff 2010, p. 48).

Future Search uses a review of participants' diverse past experiences as a way to uncover the motivations behind their commitment to the work in question and the change they want to implement. Following an examination of present conditions that drive the need for action, participants identify ideal future scenarios and imagine conditions in which present issues have been addressed and problems solved. A common ground across stakeholder groups is mapped, and the workshop concludes with plans for immediate action (Weisbord and Janoff 2010).

IDENTIFYING STAKEHOLDERS AND PLANNING FOR PLANNING

Office of University and Community Partnerships staff first met with Future Search facilitator (and process founder) Sandra Janoff to broadly identify a set of key stakeholder groups whose ideas and input would be necessary for the extension center project's success. This initial organizing looked at eight groups:

[much greater than] Residents of Mantua

[much greater than] Residents of Powelton Village

[much greater than] Drexel University students

[much greater than] Drexel University faculty and staff

[much greater than] Seniors

[much greater than] Young adults of Mantua

[much greater than] Faith community members

[much greater than] Entrepreneurs, small business, and the arts

The office convened an initial representative stakeholder planning committee that would work with the facilitator to plan a two-day intensive Future Search workshop. The committee included members of each of the stakeholder groups who were already known to the office staff as interested in and engaged with community projects and processes. The committee members were responsible for helping to identify additional participants, speaking with constituents in their own stakeholder groups about the process and the center, and in general being visible cheerleaders for the project. The group began meeting in December 2012 and set a target for a spring 2013 workshop. Over the course of several meetings the workshop plans took shape. The committee retained the initial eight target stakeholder groups in organizing the planning event. Between December 2012 and April 2013, the committee worked to secure a workshop site and establish a list of potential participants. The meeting was scheduled for the end of April, and the committee was able to confirm about 65 participants representing the eight stakeholder groups.

THE DORNSIFE CENTER FUTURE SEARCH WORKSHOP

The workshop was hosted by Metropolitan Baptist Church in Powelton Village, just a few blocks away from the Dornsife Center site, on April 26 and 27, 2013, and facilitated by Future Search founder Sandra Janoff. An exploration of the participants' past experiences--personally, at a neighborhood level, and globally--illuminated the diversity in the room. Participants noted the civil rights movement, economic upturns and downturns, 9/11, and the first African American president among other culture-wide forces that shaped their collective past. At a neighborhood level, participants identified issues like urban renewal, redlining and white flight, the growth and decline of arts and cultural opportunities, and Drexel's disruptiveness as an institutional neighbor as factors still shaping the neighborhood infrastructure and culture today. The examination of personal histories was an intense exercise that brought up losses of family members to violence, personal triumphs and accomplishments, experiences of immigration, and personal reinventions against the backdrop of a changing world and struggling communities. Out of this review of the past, participants noted common ground and common values, including a concern for family that motivated interest in activism and change, the existence of problem-solving skills in the three communities, and a common ambition to unite around shared goals.

When the focus turned to the present, participants brainstormed about problems, challenges, and issues on their minds, whether global or local. After putting more than 30 issues on the table, the group settled on a set of high-priority issues that would undergird Dornsife Center programming and operations:

[much greater than] Income disparity

[much greater than] Low educational attainment

[much greater than] Health disparities

[much greater than] Fresh food access

[much greater than] Homeownership

[much greater than] Racism and the legacy of segregation

Rather than view these issues as insurmountable problems, participants proceeded to a discussion of what they may already be doing to address them, what they have done well and what they have done poorly, and what resources exist to continue the problem-solving process.

Out of separate discussions of present experiences around important challenges among the stakeholder groups, some notable realizations emerged. These included:

[much greater than] While the diversity in the room was impressive, there were enormous gaps in opportunity between individuals.

[much greater than] There was a general honoring of the senior participants' wisdom and experience.

[much greater than] The presence of Drexel University participants was an important gesture to the neighborhood participants given the contentious history of their relationship.

[much greater than] An important task ahead was to "sell" the goal of cross-community integration to stakeholder constituents who were not present.

Once the focus turned to future goals and vision, participants reflected on their present priorities as they began brainstorming about the kinds of activities that might happen in the Dornsife Center, keeping the set of high-priority issues in mind (figure 3). Activities like cooking workshops, conflict resolution, environmental education, tutoring, dance and movement, assistance with college and job access, programs that address crime and poverty, and arts and cultural programs were just a few of the ideas mentioned. To knit this brainstorm into common ground, participants worked in groups to devise a set of mission statements for the center that would begin to address the high-priority issues previously identified.

[much greater than] The Dornsife Center is a safe, accessible place where everyone feels welcome. It includes a culture of unity, trust, commitment, diversity, and respect for all.

[much greater than] Drexel recognizes that the future of the university and the communities depends on mutual trust and respect. The Dornsife Center is a place where Drexel commits to provide its resources, skill sets, and expertise in order to develop a unified community of shared opportunity.

[much greater than] The Dornsife Center promotes inspiring multigenerational programming in a safe and peaceful environment for people of all ages.

[much greater than] The Dornsife Center understands that information is a resource that is to be gathered and shared with the community, the city, the nation, and the world. The center is a hub that generates information from its inhabitants, institutions, and organizations. The Dornsife Center also serves the community by gathering information and knowledge externally that is then put into the service of community improvement and positive change.

[much greater than] The Dornsife Center's space and programs are dynamic and responsive to all community input. The center is a model for civic engagement with formal and informal mechanisms for feedback. The center evolves to reflect changing needs.

[much greater than] The Dornsife Center puts its money where its mouth is by providing real resources that the community needs. The center has a culture that promotes visible community engagement in the spirit of cooperation to achieve positive growth and development for the community. The Dornsife Center is a community outreach facility that provides resources for a diverse community while striving to strengthen and sustain a neighborhood partnership. The center is a place of accessible community engagement that provides human resources the community needs in a holistic and transparent approach that strengthens, improves, empowers, and educates communities.

[much greater than] The Dornsife Center supports civic engagement by offering educational and recreational services to promote community and personal health. The center has a strong commitment to economic and social justice as shown in service, such as providing access to technology, legal services, financial education, and job training.

To wrap up the workshop, participants identified sets of potential action steps that would advance the vision within the first years. These included ideas like developing promotional and information-sharing mechanisms, scheduling a set of ready-to-go introductory programs, establishing an evaluation process, hosting potluck dinners, and creating an advisory board. Participant recommendations regarding operations processes included prioritizing local hiring; attending to design features like acoustics and multiple usages; focusing on accessibility and transparency--in this case quite literally in terms of creating space such that a passerby can see the activities inside; maintaining a security staff presence; making Wi-Fi available throughout the site; and promoting an emphasis on shared space that is not "owned" by any organization, unit, or program in particular.

While this description of the workshop process provides a somewhat straightforward outline of the topics that participants addressed and the issues on their minds, it is important to note that through this process of grappling with personal histories and lived experience, participants had many profoundly moving interpersonal experiences as individuals from across boundaries of neighborhood, culture, race, and income put aside anger, anxiety, and frustration with institutional identities and local problems to forge a story of common ground. The power of these moments was as important to the success of this meeting as the production of a set of coherent and achievable goals.

PLANNING THE FACILITY

The mission statements from the Future Search process provided a clear set of themes for the actual building project, namely:

[much greater than] Provide different types of spaces for community gathering

[much greater than] Support university engagement across all of the colleges and schools

[much greater than] Make the facilities flexible and adaptable

The potential programs proposed for the center included everything from fitness and wellness to 4-H and gardening. There were opportunities identified for almost all of the schools within the university--home repairs and weatherization for the Architecture Department, a law clinic for the School of Law, cooking and nutrition for the School of Public Health, and so on. Consistent with President Fry's goals for university civic engagement across the entire institution, the early programming sought to find opportunities for each of the 14 colleges and schools to establish a home in the Dornsife Center.

By the time the architectural firm was brought on board, a very tight design and construction time schedule had been established, as both Drexel and the community were eager to get the center open and underway. The real challenge in the schedule came from the need to obtain both New Markets and Historic Tax Credits to make the project happen. While the Historic Tax Credits involved a multilevel review process across city, state, and federal agencies that generally cannot be rushed and typically requires several phases of month-long processing, the New Markets Credit had a tight deadline that allotted only six months for design concept through permits. To support this time frame the entire team needed to be quick in making decisions and flexible in some of its design goals.

Despite this fast-track approach to design, it was critical to flesh out a physical program document through meetings across many faculty groups. The design team invited members of eight different faculty groups, including representatives from the College of Medicine; School of Public Health; College of Nursing and Health Professions; School of Law; School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems; College of Media Arts and Design; School of Education; and Department of Psychology to a series of programming meetings with the design team, the center's launch team, and staff from University Facilities. In discussing each group's spatial requests and program requirements, the design team quickly determined that all program spaces needed to be flexible, adaptable, and, where possible, shared, not just between schools but also with the community. The program quickly coalesced around several key elements: (1) a wellness center (for medical school/nursing/public health activities), (2) a legal clinic (for law school/psychology department use), (3) design-build studios (for architecture and engineering departments), (4) K-12 educational initiatives and adult technical training programs, (5) community gathering rooms for special events, and (6) center program offices.

As discussed earlier, Drexel had certain departments that came to the center with a clear service concept that they wanted to include in the project, and these were the groups that were provided the most developed spaces in the project. The programs that were less clear about the specific nature of their actual community engagement had their spaces left less defined. The initial challenge to create a building program for a center that wanted to be flexible and evolutionary was made more difficult by the initial sense that there were too many entities competing for limited space. Like all complex campus projects, the center had multiple stakeholders, including faculty, administration, the community, and donors, and the need to balance the concerns of students, facilities staff, safety departments, and city agencies. Fortunately, there was strong leadership by Vice Provost Kerman and her team, who kept reminding everyone that the project was first and foremost about providing service to the neighborhood.

The other issue addressed early in the planning process was how to adaptively reuse the buildings on the site in a way that respected the historic fabric of the older structures and met the requirements of the tax credits. Each building had a different set of limitations and opportunities, so parsing out the program elements appropriately among them was critical. Grouping common functions led to defining the buildings according to their best uses (figure 4). The 1850s Mansion, with its smaller rooms and more intact historic interiors, easily lent itself to office and conference room functions for the legal clinic and center administration. The 1860s Carriage House, which required a significant gutting of its previous renovations, became the logical choice for the health, learning, and gathering activities. Lastly, the school building was dubbed the "Maker Building" as the home of the architecture and engineering program elements.

Along with this division of activities came the desire to build connections across the programs. The three separate buildings created a challenge to this goal that was initially addressed by a proposed new "link" structure that provided an enclosed connection between the Mansion and Carriage House at two levels, along with the required ADA access and new egress stairs for both buildings. After passing review by city and state historic agencies, this solution was rejected by the National Park Service, which has authority over the Historic Tax Credits. Given the other project time constraints, there was no time to appeal the decision, so the design team needed to proceed with a separate solution for egress and ADA that unfortunately gave up program space to an additional stair and elevator.

There were many other challenges to adaptively reusing such old structures for this new outreach center, such as mechanical, engineering, and plumbing systems and building envelope upgrades. Modern demands for higher levels of heating and cooling performance as well as fire protection required systems that do not always fit easily into existing historic fabric. The Philadelphia Historic Commission's review of the design also put some limits on the potential for window efficiency upgrades. Programmatically, there were also some compromises that had to be made in order to fit within the existing shell of the buildings, such as sacrificing ideal proportions for gathering spaces and having only limited area for a demonstration kitchen.

All that said, the downsides of not having a new, purpose-built facility that hews precisely to specific program criteria are far outweighed by the benefits of renovating two historic gems admired by the surrounding communities. This facility is immediately recognizable as an integral part of the neighborhood it serves (figure 5). Another important lesson learned from the process was that by renovating and reusing older buildings, the project proves out the concept that the resulting spaces can be flexible and adaptable.

Although the facility planning and design process sometimes felt messy and rushed, the key elements of community input, faculty buy-in, and clear administrative direction, as shown in the time line in figure 6, ensured that the Dornsife Center got the spaces it needed and the flexibility to develop programs as it grows. The project aligns with Drexel's desire to deploy its academic resources and institutional investments in support of a program of services brought directly into one of its surrounding neighborhoods.

THE FOLLOW UP

We want to note in particular two of the action steps identified in the Future Search workshop that are driving what has become an ongoing stakeholder planning process for the Dornsife Center: the introduction of monthly community dinners and the creation of a stakeholder advisory council. Before the launch of the center's renovation process in June 2013, the staff of the Office of University and Community Partnerships hosted two dinners. The first dinner followed just a week and a half after the meeting, and most of the participants were able to attend. The dinners were catered by Drexel's in-house catering service, as discussions with Drexel's risk management personnel along with the realization that preparing a dish for a large number of attendees could represent a hardship for many in the neighborhood made potluck a less desirable option.

The dinners were put on hold while the center's renovation prevented access to the site, but resumed upon reopening in July 2014. They are held on the first Tuesday of each month and feature no presentations or talks; participants are encouraged to use the opportunity to make new acquaintances across community boundaries. Dornsife Center staff members consider the dinners to be a cornerstone of programming, with the fellowship integral to the dinners making an important connection to the Future Search participants' priority of addressing racism and community estrangement in order to establish a place of peace and safety.

As part of the programming around food access and health, several neighborhood residents have had an opportunity to work alongside Drexel faculty and students to prepare and serve the community meals. A summer Drexel culinary arts course focusing on local culinary traditions invited residents to connect with students to study their favorite family recipes, which have been served at two of the 2014 dinners.

Staff in the Office of University and Community Partnerships also convened a volunteer committee made up of Future Search workshop participants to establish a community advisory council that would anchor an iterative planning process. The Dornsife Community Advisory Council held its first meeting in August 2013 and continues to meet monthly. The advisory council development committee added several stakeholder groups, and the council now includes two seats held by representatives from each of 12 stakeholder groups:

[much greater than] Drexel students

[much greater than] Drexel faculty

[much greater than] Mantua residents

[much greater than] Powelton Village residents

[much greater than] Senior citizens

[much greater than] Mantua young adults

[much greater than] Faith community members

[much greater than] Entrepreneurs and small business owners

[much greater than] Youth ages 11-16

[much greater than] Citywide agencies serving the neighborhoods

[much greater than] Nonprofit organizations serving the neighborhoods

[much greater than] Friends of the Dornsife Center (donors)

The council uses the monthly meetings to meet and interact with program providers at the center, both those from inside the university and outside nonprofits. The group members offer feedback, guidance, and advice about operations processes and are additionally responsible for promoting the Dornsife Center's programs and activities within their constituent groups.

Returning to the idea of a planning process that continues beyond the Dornsife Center's grand opening, members of the advisory council recently proposed a stakeholder planning follow up to the 2013 Future Search workshop. A council subcommittee worked with a facilitator from the organization Public Workshop to host a visioning and mission-reaffirming process to frame a renewed look at the center's vision, goals, and mission statement developed the previous year. A two-phase process started with a mission statement workshop on November 1, 2014, during which many of the current advisory council members and past Future Search participants built picnic tables together and then sat at the tables to review how the center has performed since the Future Search workshop and to start a revision of the Dornsife Center's mission statement. The second phase will take place in the spring of 2015, with a similar creative group-build project tied to a performance and mission review.

REFERENCES

Drexel University Office of the President. 2010. 2010 Convocation. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://drexel. edu/president/messages/speeches/convocation-2010/.

Dubb, S., S. McKinley, and T. Howard. 2013. The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs. Takoma Park, MD: The Democracy Collaborative. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://community-wealth.org/sites/clone.community-wealth.org/files/downloads/AnchorDashboardCompositeFinal.pdf.

Interface Studio and V Lamar Wilson Associates. 2012. Make Your Mark: Lower Lancaster Revitalization Plan. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from the World Wide Web: www.interface-studio.com/isftp/PEC/MYM_6_28.pdf. Kitchen & Associates. 2012. We Are Mantua! Choice Neighborhoods Initiative: Mantua Transformation Plan. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://planphilly.com/uploads/media_items/mantua-transformation-plan-1.original.pdf.

Powelton Village. 2013. 3509 Spring Garden Street. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from the World Wide Web: http://poweltonvillage.org/interactivemap/files/3509springgarden.htm.

Weisbord, M., and S. Janoff. 2010. Future Search: Getting the Whole System in the Room for Vision, Commitment, and Action. 3rd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHIES

JENNIFER BRITTON (MS, Science, Technology, & Society), currently the launch director for Drexel University's Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, brings a background in nonprofit community education in both arts and culture and social services to her 12 years of work in managing interdisciplinary academic programming at Drexel. She is especially interested in using participatory research methodologies and pedagogies as a mechanism for linking institutional knowledge resources to community stakeholders. Her experience at Drexel University includes leading and launching programs like the International Area Studies program, the Drexel Engineering Cities Initiative, the Urban Sustainability Initiative, the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, and the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.

KEVIN W. AIRES, AIA, is a principal at BLT Architects (BLTa) of Philadelphia and has extensive professional experience in the academic sector. He serves as project manager for many of BLTa's academic projects, involved in everything from programming and code analysis to value engineering and construction closeout. He has successfully lead projects at Villanova University, Drexel University, and The University of Pennsylvania, as well as multiple assignments at The Pennsylvania State University. With a background in energy-efficient design research, he leads sustainability efforts at the firm through his role as co-director of BLTa's Green Design Committee. A graduate of Swarthmore College, he received a master of architecture from the University of Oregon. He is LEED AP accredited and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

by Jennifer Britton and Kevin W. Aires
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Title Annotation:PLANNING STORY
Author:Britton, Jennifer; Aires, Kevin W.
Publication:Planning for Higher Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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