Student building designers rise to the top
D.C. after winning the “School of the Future” architectural design competition in Houston. The
contest is sponsored by the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International (CEFPI), an
organization made up of architects, contractors, school district personnel and vendors who work to
improve all learning environments.
The “School of the Future” curriculum touches on architecture, construction, mathematics,
sustainability, learning styles, and innovative learning environments. The University Middle
students, also known as the Green Team, used video cameras to analyze the existing school site
from perspectives such as traffic control, safety and security of students, acoustics and site
amenities. Using this information, the students designed a modern two-story earth-sheltered school
The UMS Green Team defeated students from Sheldon ISD and Katy ISD as well as a team from
New Orleans. Each team was required to write a 750-word narrative about its design, build a
physical model, and provide a five-minute presentation to a “live jury” comprised of an architect,
an engineer, and a school superintendent.
The Green Team is coached by Michael Hinton, a Career and Technology teacher at the school.
Kerri Ranney of PBK Architects served as mentor for the students. PBK designed all new schools
and renovation projects made possible by the 2008 bond referendum.
– Four University Middle School eighth-graders have earned a trip to Washington,
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