Editor's Focus

Editor's Focus: Design Sparks

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Did this year's presidential election drain your brain? Were you secretly wishing you would lose your Internet connection, lose power to your television and have your newspaper delivery guy forget where you live — just so you wouldn't have to hear any more political ads? Or are you one of those people who couldn't get enough of the analysis, the comparisons, the history, the predictions?

One thing we all can agree on is that people actually got excited about this year's election. There was an infectious energy in the air, and it was refreshing. And even if the map was a little more “blue” than you would have liked, you have to admit that bringing a little hope back into politics could change the attitudes and processes in Washington D.C. and beyond.

The issue in your hands represents another kind of energy and excitement: the new education facilities springing up on campuses across the country, and the projects that revitalize and refresh school and university landscapes.

The excitement of the main winners calls out from the pages. The Caudill winner, Rosa Parks School and Community Campus at New Columbia, transformed its Portland, Ore., community. The Kahn winner, a renovation of Norwich University's Wise Campus Center, created a campus living room to bring together the Northfield, Vt., campus community. And the special citation went to Richardsville Elementary School: Can you say “net zero energy”? Doesn't the idea of a school producing the same amount it uses on an annual basis inspire and excite you as you think about your own campus?

Speaking of energy, you can meet our jury on p. 10. Bill Bradley, Lisa Johnson, David Perkins, Dennis Randolph and Todd Rappold: Thank you for your time and tireless service in choosing inspiring designs.

If you are planning a new facility, renovating an existing one or just dreaming of the future, hopefully you will find something in this issue to get excited about.

WEB 101

Speaking of elections

A recent question from Schoolhouse Beat: The Blog: In the current climate of anxiety and uncertainty, is this a good time for schools and universities to be making large expenditures on construction, even if voters have authorized the spending?

Some of your comments:

  • ”The answer would be an absolute yes in higher ed to continue building. It is a wonderful way to provide economic stimulus.”

  • “Schools and universities should spend their money prudently, but if they have funding available and their facility needs are real, they should do what is best for their institutions and continue with those projects.”

  • ”Those responsible for prudent financial management should continue to build and prepare facilities in keeping with a long-range view and not hunker down even in the face of some constituent concerns. They should also realize that energizing building projects that are funded encourages economic growth in their communities.”

Lustig is executive editor of AS&U.

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This blog features monthly magazine commentary from the AS&U editorial staff.

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Joe Agron

Joe Agron is the editor-in-chief/associate publisher of American School & University magazine. Joe has overseen AS&U's editorial direction for more than 25 years, and has helped...
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