Design Process

The LISD commissioned the services of the SHW Group to conduct a comprehensive master planning process for the site. The master planning process included the staples, existing site conditions analysis, and review of current uses.

Understanding the value and importance of obtaining input from the community and particularly key segments of the community, the LISD encouraged SHW Group to undertake an inclusive design process.

To that end, the master planning process included numerous visioning sessions to which key stakeholders, including students, were invited.

An initial stakeholder’s kick-off meeting was held. Participants toured the site and received information about the current and former site uses. Participants then worked in small groups to develop and present a vision of the site for the year 2030. The top five identified priorities were: environmental education, focus on future sustainable careers; community connectivity; water management and conservation; adaptability and flexibility; and lifelong learning.

The stakeholder’s meeting was followed by two, full-day design workshops which were attended by more than 60 individuals. The workshops included a review of the stakeholder kick-off meeting, a review of case studies, a review of research conducted by the SHW Group, student presentations, development of alternate site futures, and finally the selection of a preferred future.

Each day of the design workshop included presentations by LISD student groups that participated in a project-based learning exercise. The students were assigned essentially the same task as the architects. In teams, they were responsible for devising feasible strategies for creating a net-zero energy educational campus that addressed the needs of the LISD and its prospective partners. Many of the concepts presented by the students were incorporated into the site master plan.

In addition to the planning meetings and student input, the SHW Group also conducted surveys of students, educators, and community members. Individual meetings were also scheduled with strategic partners for the purpose of exploring the roles of the partners in more depth.

General Approach to Site Planning and Organization

  • Create an integrated and concentrated complex of building and site programs that facilitates the educational mission of the LISD.
  • Design for synergy and connectivity with broader community goals and desires related to agriculture, ecology, environmental education and recreation.
  • Create a clear framework of site infrastructure systems and structures that serves the LISD and community needs while incorporating purposeful flexibility to allow for dynamic use and future adaptations.
  • Utilize the existing disturbed area of the site between the two primary drainages and wetland areas. Take advantage of existing road entry and infrastructure and existing site utilities where possible.
  • Concentrate area of primary construction to minimize negative impacts to sensitive site systems (wetlands, forest) and to maximize connectivity between programs and activities, the school system and the public.
  • Create a strong sense of arrival and an organized set of relationships and a clear sense of orientation for visitors to the site.

More information