Schinnerer Insurance opposed to Stock School Plans

Schinnerer Insurance opposed to Stock School Plans

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Scott Powell, AIA Responds to Niki Haley’s Support of Stock School Plans

When the founding fathers created our government, they decided that the public should elect officials who are more educated than the typical citizen to make decisions beneficial to the public’s wellbeing.  Positions by current political candidates in our state have proven our elected officials are not more knowledgeable than the general public.  Facing a failing economy, Superintendent of Education candidate Mike Zais and Anderson House of Representative candidate Don Bowen have noted that they support stock school plans as a means of saving money.  This week gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley joined in, ironically after giving her support of charter schools because they offer a different approach to public education.

On the surface, it seems logical that developing standard prototypical building plans and specifications can reduce design and engineering cost.  However, the American Institute of Architects estimates that the average building design cost is three percent of the total project cost.  Prototypical plans do not eliminate the necessity for hiring architects and engineers.  Each prototype plan will have to be adapted to fit a different site with different traffic patterns, topography, sidewalks, soil conditions, etc.  Depending on the solar orientation of the site selected, the mechanical system may have to be redesigned.  Besides, architects will still be needed to bid the projects and perform construction administration services to ensure that the contractor is meeting the intent of the construction documents.

In 2004, the state of Arkansas published the findings of a task force developed by their state’s legislators to study the benefits of prototypical school designs.  The findings of that task force were that there is little or no savings for prototypical designs.  Their findings were similar to a study in the early 1990’s by the Facilities Services Section of the Georgia Department of Education.  Georgia mailed surveys to the fifty State Departments of Education and received forty-one responses.  Only three states (Maine, New York and Virginia) reported that they had used prototypical plans in the past and none of those states were currently using standard plans for the construction of new schools.  In the 1960’s, the New York State Legislature passed a bill to fund eighteen separate stock school plans.  The state spent approximately $650,000 to develop nine plans.  After the plans became available, only two schools were constructed.

Stock school plans are not feasible due to constantly changing building codes and regulations.  Our state adopts a new building code every three years and updates the Office of School Facilities Planning Guide every year.

One of the biggest obstacles for stock plans is the liability risk.  Architects and engineers design buildings to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public.  The design team receives training to design structures to meet architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical codes.  The requirements of these codes vary depending on the part of the state the school is located.  The design team holds responsibility and has professional liability insurance to cover themselves.  An executive with Schinnerer & Company, a major insurer of architects and engineers, warns states of “confusing the lines of responsibility” and possibly violating the state’s own licensing laws by duplicating the same plan throughout the state.

The greatest reason to not build prototypical designs is that each community is as different as the children that it serves and the school should reflect the needs of the community.  Some schools have very active PTA’s that raise large sums of money to help fund their children’s education.  Some schools have PTA rooms for the vital organizations to meet and store their materials.  Other, less fortunate communities do not have PTA’s and could better utilize space to teach GED classes for parents or social services organizations that serve their children.

Many of the same politicians who support prototypical school plans also support more choices for our children to learn.  How can prototypical designs provide the spaces needed for the varying programs?  Magnet schools such as Stone Academy for the Arts in the Greenville immerse children in a curriculum focused around the arts.  It is doubtful that the state will provide a typical design for an elementary school with dance and music studios.  Some schools, such as the new A.J. Whittenberg Elementary and Engineering School that just opened in downtown Greenville, utilize the building as a teaching tool.  From their engineering lab, students can look out their window onto the roof below and view a green roof and photovoltaic panels from which they can calculate the energy gained from the sun.  Stock school plans will not enable school designs to meet the specific needs of a school’s curriculum.

If legislators want to save money, they should encourage school districts to share resources and facilities.  Traditionally, the really successful schools serve as the center of the community and the community is more likely to support funding of the schools if they see a benefit.  Fort Moultrie Middle School in Mt. Pleasant has a beautiful arbor-type structure in front of the school.  The City of Mt. Pleasant paid for the structure and uses it on Saturdays for a farmers market.  Anderson School District Four built a full-size gymnasium at Townville Elementary School.  The gymnasium serves to meet the recreation needs of rural, yet desirable area near Lake Hartwell.  And Greenville County Schools has partnered with the Salvation Army so that A.J. Whittenberg Elementary can share site, facilities and programs with the new Kroc Center.

To the average citizen who is rightly concerned about the state’s economy, having prototypical school plans seems like a logical way to save money.  History has not proven this to be true.  We are affected by our environment and each school should be designed to meet the needs of each community.  Politicians have been told of the pitfalls of prototypical school designs, yet they do not think that the voters of our state are intelligent enough to understand.  In November, prove that our citizens are smarter than politicians think. 

Scott E. Powell, AIA, LEED AP

Principal and K12 Studio Leader at Craig Gaulden Davis

Board member of South Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

Member of South Carolina Office of School Facilities Planning Board

Member of the Council for Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)

Member of South Carolina School Board Association

AIA South Carolina Congratulates our Newly Elected Fellows:

David Allison, FAIA
Lynn Craig, FAIA
Jeffrey M. Rosenblum, FAIA

This is an outstanding achievement!  AIA Fellowship is conferred on architects with at least 10 years of membership in the AIA who have made significant contributions in the following areas:  aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession; the standards of architectural education, training, practice; the building industry through leadership in the AIA and other related professional organizations; advancement of living standards of people through an improved environment; and to society through significant public service.  Congratulations again to David, Lynn and Jeffrey!


2010 AIA Young Architect Award to David Burt, AIA

The Young Architects Award is given to individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession in an early stage of their architectural career. Architect members of the AIA who have been licensed to practice architecture fewer than 10 years by the submission deadline are eligible to be nominated; the term young architect has no reference to the age of nominees. Jury Comments “Within the regional context of South Carolina, his work is exceptional. His sketches are captivating.” David Burt, AIA entered the scene as an Architecture student at Mississippi State University. Falling in love with travel during this time, he participated in the school’s study-abroad program and travelled to more than ten countries, all the while sketching the buildings and urban setting that inspired him. Directly after graduation, he began working for Foil-Wyatt Architects in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1998, while sketching buildings in Charleston, a chance encounter with Thom Penney (President, AIA 2002-2003) resulted in his being offered a position at LS3P Architects. He began work for LS3P in 1998, the same year he chose to join the AIA. Although LS3P is organized into project-type studios (i.e. K-12, Healthcare, Federal, Commercial, etc.), David quickly proved himself to be the “Jack-of-All-Trades” and worked across studios to fill the needs of various project types. In addition to holding other memberships and positions at such a busy time in his life, David was also earning both acclaim and reputation: he was honored by AIA Charleston in a Design Competition for a Habitat for Humanity Project; he was put in charge of the design and construction of the largest mixed-use resort project LS3P had ever designed, The Wild Dunes Resort Village and Conference Center; he was licensed in 2004, and advanced so quickly at LS3P that he was named an associate in March of 2004 and an associate principal in April of 2006. David became a LEED Accredited Professional in 2009, though he has been working on LEED projects since 2006. In September of 2008, he was named LS3P’s youngest principal. In the same year, he was selected as the Young Architects Forum (YAF) Regional Liaison for the South Atlantic Region, working to increase the representation and influence of the YAF in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. David served at AIA Charleston as Vice President in 2005, then President in 2006. He was elected, in 2006, to a three-year term with the AIA South Carolina Board of Directors as its Communications Chairperson, and his work in overseeing the design and content of the magazine has resulted, so far, in both increased readership and increased funding. Steven Coe, AIA, a reference in David’s nomination, states, “During David’s tenure the magazine has been distributed to over 18,000 recipients representing legislators, allied associations and potential clients and has had a significant impact on sending the message about South Carolina architects’ role in creating the built environment.” Enthusiasm is the characteristic most emphasized by David’s peers and references, and from the very start of his career, he seems to have shown this zeal in all his undertakings. “It takes more than just ability to be a great architect,” says Barbara Van Thullenar in another reference, “I think you need passion, understanding of the project and commitment to excellence in your work…David embraces all of these qualities.”

from AIA National newsletter

February 2010 ARCH-ist

D. Wayne Rogers, AIA LEED AP

Artist’s Statement

The inspiration for my work seems to come from travel, memories, coastal scenes, architecture…It becomes, therefore, a visual journal….a way of recording ‘my small story’ …hopes, dreams, values, ideas.  It is my hope as my work tells ‘my small story,’ that it will, much more importantly, point to the One who gives ‘my story’ meaning…the One who is the great artist, the great creator, the maker of color and life, the companion/provider, and the One who gives our small stories meaning.

My work reflects a tension between abstraction and reality (and my fascination with the Impressionists).  The technique is subtle underpainting and layers of palate knife work and, often, a final layer with a detailed brush.  The paintings often included a tension between planning/design vs. allowing the paint to have a freer/uncontrolled spirit…sometimes set against structural edges placed on the paintings (often achieved via tape/glazes).

I enjoy painting because its personal. There is not a client.  As an architect, I have the privilege of connecting/working with people to make buildings and spaces and places.  In painting, I find solitude and the chance to think/reflect/express.  For me painting/drawing is quite personal.

For purchasing info, please contact Jason Rogers or 803.201.6421

ADVOCACY – If We Don’t Act, Who Will?

by Todd Reichard, AIA

During 2009, AIA embraced the opportunity to shape national policy and advance the role that Architects play in designing a better built environment.  AIA’s “Rebuild and Renew Plan for Green Communities and a Green Economy” successfully resulted in government investment in infrastructure that would be not just shovel-ready but shovel-worthy.  The “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” included up to $130 billion in investments in buildings, which are estimated to create or save as many as 14,000 architect jobs.

During this year’s Grassroots Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., AIA South Carolina attendees from throughout our State, met with members of Congress and their staff to promote Phase Two of the AIA Rebuild and Renew initiative.  Recognizing that many architects and firms are still struggling, the focus was on five Recommendations that will create jobs.

  • Help Struggling Communities Rebuild
  • Unfreeze Credit to Get America Building Again
  • Encourage the Commercial Sector to Build Green
  • Provide Relief for Small Businesses
  • Invest in Our Children With 21st Century Schools

These recommendations are pro-active and bipartisan, and they come from ideas and concerns raised by fellow AIA members.  Most importantly, they are proposals that can be implemented quickly, to get the economy moving quickly.

Legislation has already passed in the House of Representatives concerning relief for small businesses and for upgrading schools throughout the country.  The Senate is yet to act.  Each South Carolina Congressman was working toward a solution to the Credit Crisis.  And we received a favorable response from most of our Congressmen concerning tax incentives for building green.  Details of each Recommendation can be found at .  Take a few minutes to learn how AIA is working to improve the profession during these difficult economic conditions; then follow-up with your National Representative and encourage them to support legislation that creates jobs.

Lobbying is one of the most important roles of AIA.  Our National Staff develop timely recommendations and “clue” us on how and when to react.  But, the success of the plan is based on individual AIA members.  Legislators respond to constituents; we have to participate in the process.  Individually, we have to communicate with our elected leaders and develop relationships.  This is equally important at our State and Local levels of government.  AIA National has a proven track record of success.  AIA South Carolina continues to improve our Advocacy efforts within our State, but success is dependent on participation of individual members.  Be prepared and willing to participate; if we don’t act, who will?