Engaging Students in the Design Process for Seneca Valley Schools

  • January 22, 2019
  • Author: Michael Corb

There are numerous exciting aspects of our team’s current work with Seneca Valley School District, outside Pittsburgh, but one that stands out to me is our chance to engage students in the design process.

In K-12 schools and on higher education campuses each year, there are innumerous design projects totaling millions in construction volume. Our team advocates for engaging students interested in architecture, engineering and construction in these projects to enhance their learning experience. To not involve them in these real-world learning experiences would be a missed opportunity for both the students and the future of our profession.

Fortunately, Seneca Valley is seizing the opportunity. They have selected 18 students with clear interest in the world of AEC to play a role in our current effort to create the district’s new elementary and middle school. These students attend our steering committee meetings, hear the same dialogue our designers and project leaders are sharing to move the project forward, and are encouraged to ask questions and engage. The students will also have the opportunity to visit our office for charettes and other key moments in the design process. (Above, a photo from a recent meeting with the students.)

By engaging current Seneca Valley students this way, we’re helping them determine if their interest in AEC is real, developing their skills and involving them in a design project in real time. It’s a kind of real-world learning that just can’t be simulated in a traditional classroom setting. That said, their classroom experience is also growing stronger as a result of this opportunity. Just recently, Seneca Valley’s Middle School Principal asked for a topographic map of the site that science and social studies teachers could use in their lesson plans. We will continue to see out similar synergies that help the students.

Furthermore, these students will play a role in helping shape Seneca Valley’s future. We’ve partnered with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to create entirely new, research-based, leading-edge learning environments. This partnership creates synergy between K-12 design expertise with the museum’s deep understanding for creating successful hands-on children’s learning environments and experiences to advances learning. It will allow Seneca Valley to develop spaces that explore and understand what happens when schools are as fun, inspiring and engaging to be in as children’s museums.

We believe the project will make a remarkably positive impact for Seneca Valley and potentially serve as a model for how K-12 schools can better inspire and engage students and teachers regionally and nationally. That’s an exciting goal for the project, and we’re proud to have current Seneca Valley students helping push it forward.

Pittsburgh Business Times Celebrates Opening of West Penn NICU

  • January 18, 2019
  • Publication: Pittsburgh Business Times

World Architecture 100: CannonDesign Holds Strong as Global Design Leader

  • December 19, 2018
  • Publication: Building Design

Brian Skripac to Present on Owners Asking for BIM Deliverables at 2018 COAA Fall Owners Conference

  • 11/16/2018 - 11/16/2018

Decoding the Recipe for Success for Your Ambulatory Strategy

  • November 9, 2018
  • Author: Michael Pukszta

minnesotaWhile the major shift from inpatient to ambulatory care is allowing healthcare systems to remain at the forefront of medicine, it also creates significant challenges with respect to reimbursement, revenue, and patient volume. Exacerbating those challenges, there isn’t a “one size fits all” ambulatory strategy. Just as there is no single type of consumer, there is no single right or highest use of an ambulatory facility. Every patient is unique in how they want to interact with a health institution. And technology, digital solutions, experience, and patient expectations all play a role in their interactions.

In order to build a successful ambulatory strategy, health systems need to approach ambulatory care similar to how a chef approaches a recipe. While you may start with the same ingredients, the different amounts and ways in which they are mixed together will create very different results. It is essential for health systems to identify those ingredients, and then combine them strategically to create the successful recipe that matches their patients’ expectations.

Our ambulatory care team understands the many questions this “recipe” may pose for an organization, which is why our approach recognizes the uniqueness of each health system – targeting our efforts to identify ambulatory marketing opportunities and tailor solutions that correlate with each client’s definition of value.

We recently created a report that outlines the four major categories of ambulatory influencers and defines the building blocks for an ambulatory care site, to guide healthcare systems in tailoring an ambulatory strategy to their own unique brand of healthcare delivery.


CannonDesign Earns #4 Position in 2018 Architect 50 Rankings

  • November 8, 2018

CannonDesign to Renovate West Virginia University’s Hodges Hall

  • October 16, 2018

Environmental Awareness Week 2018 Speakers Announced

  • September 13, 2018

Setting the Stage for the Future of Higher Education – Insights from SCUP 2018 Annual Conference

  • September 12, 2018
  • Author: Bridget Supplitt

Each year, members of the CannonDesign education team head to the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) 2018 Annual Conference to learn about the latest trends in campus planning, and gather insights that will help inform our own designs and plans moving forward.

This year, four CannonDesign leaders – clockwise, from top left: Phil Dordai, Trevor Calarco, Mike Glaros, Jenny Miller  – attended and report on their visits here. The conference presented a broad, relevant topic that is top of mind for planners on both the client and architect side: setting the stage for the future of higher education.

Talks explored challenges facing higher education, the impact of politics on campus, and how planners, administrators and designers can adapt to changing generational demands.

A key theme discussed surrounded how campuses are looking for creative ways to insert new or updated buildings within already dense campuses. Right-sizing and right-spacing facilities, finding ways to house multiple curriculums (even if disparate in nature) under one roof, and using data and analytics to find the most efficient use of space are just some of the methods planners are adopting to ensure student, faculty and administrative needs are met.

In a similar vein, campuses are also getting innovative in creating new subtypes of spaces or programs, such as creating new multipurpose student centers/unions that house shared environments. These ladder into the trend of incoming generations being interested now more than ever before in the quality of their experiences on campus. Students want accessible wellness centers, retail, dining, prayer spaces, etc. They want to know that they have spaces where they can proactively spend time, versus reactively finding them in times of need. As a result, planners and designers alike will need to continue to source new ideas for creating these proactive experiences, and give students spaces they want to hang out and spend time in.

A final hot topic of focus was the impact of politics on campus. As with many industries, issues like immigration policies are affecting international student enrollment numbers. And like other industries, it’s predicted that decreases in international enrollment could result in serious consequences for business plans in higher education institutions if those drops in enrollment from last year continue. It remains to be seen what these consequences will entail, but will be important to monitor, and prepare for.

Overall the conference provided interesting takeaways, but more importantly, challenged those that presented and attended to continue to expand their creative thinking within a campus planning framework. It will be interesting to see how these trends and insights are reflected within the physical campus space in the coming years.