Every Once in a While, We are Reminded Why We Wanted to be Architects
I suppose our profession of architecture is similar to many other careers, in that we have our up and down days, our share of frustrations, long hours, sometimes impossible schedules and deadlines, unattainable goals, the pressures of business, and clients who may not understand the constraints that we often have to work within. But then every once in a while, we are reminded of why we wanted to be Architects!
Such was the case at the dedication of the new Georgian Heights Elementary School for the Columbus City Schools that was held on Feb. 12, 2013.
The building was immaculately set for the dedication. The classrooms were well organized, displaying the proud work of their students. The cafeteria/assembly area had seating and podiums in place for the program. The cafeteria was set with snacks and refreshments for the evening. Principal Rhonda Peeples stood at the main entrance of the school greeting guests as they arrived with her usual cheerfulness. Student volunteers passed out programs and ushered guests to their seats.
As the program began, Ms. Peeples welcomed members of the Columbus City School board, dignitaries, parents, students, staff members and guests to the school. She spoke how the new school building, which has been in operation since late August, has served as a catalyst to heighten the learning experience of the students. She spoke proudly of the new features this school possessed, such as a separate cafeteria/assembly space and a separate gym, which could be opened into one space for such events as this night.
She explained how the abundant natural lighting, organization of space, and flow of the building was just what she had hoped for. Superintendent Dr. Gene Harris spoke of the openness and creative use of space in the school, along with the extended learning spaces that were built off of the classrooms and the exterior learning space, which collectively made this school and excellent example of the direction and opportunities that Columbus City Schools are promoting to encourage and foster education to their students.
The school choir assembled and proudly sang, "We Can Build a City" much to the joy of the parents and guests. Through the introductions, our firm was acknowledged and thanked for our contribution to the new school. Both Nikki Wildman and I were recognized. I wished that Nikki could have been present. She had fostered this project from the programming stage through design, construction documents, and the construction phase, but she was unfortunately out of town on this date.
Afterwards, I was approached by both teachers who work within the school, and parents whose children make this building their home Monday through Friday. They spoke with excitement and pride, and expressed their thanks for such a nice school. Superintendent Davis and Principal Peeples also made time after the presentation to personally meet with me and thank our firm for helping them envision their dream. To see the excitement and the pride that this new school has been able to deliver to the Georgian Heights community, its students, staff and administration was indeed an endearing moment. It is times like these, though seemingly rare, that serves as an affirmation as to why we became architects!
by Jim Mitchell
Principal, Executive Vice President, Director - Civic/Community Studio
As a registered architect for over 27 years and a State of Ohio Certified Master Plans Examiner and Chief Building Official, Jim is a wealth of knowledge regarding building codes. His favorite place to eat is Polaris Grille, and his favorite movie is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.