This year at the 2018 Society for College and University Planning Southern Regional Conference, the theme was “planning campuses that strengthen community connections.” The annual event brought thought leaders and higher education professionals from across the southern region together in Austin, Texas to discuss how campuses engage their surrounding communities. Experts on collegiate design and planning from Kirksey worked with University partners to present two projects that do just that. 

"An Urban Bayou Education: Resilient, Educational, Connected"
Michelle Old and Gary Machicek, designers at Kirksey, presented with Scott McCready of SWA and Dr. Lisa Morano, University of Houston-Downtown Professor of Biology and Microbiology and Director for the Center for Urban Agriculture and Sustainability, on resiliency, the new UHD Science building and its relation to the bayou. Specifically, the group discussed the challenge of expanding a dispersed urban campus into a floodplain and how the outcome presented itself as a resilient, educational project fully connected to the school and the city it inhabits.

"Renovations and Interiors Rapid Fire: Student Life Community"
Gary and Melissa Schmitz, Kirksey’s Director of Brand Integration, presented with Dr. Dan Bruton from Stephen F. Austin University as part of a panel. Their specific portion of the discussion, titled “Imagine Every Wall as a Teaching Moment: The Graphics Revolution,” focused on how graphics are changing the way academic buildings are designed. The discussion highlighted the Stephen F. Austin University Ed & Gwen Cole STEM Building and showcased how the very walls and spaces of the building are active teaching tools and opportunity for learning - from the planetarium to the integrated graphics throughout the building to the plaza outside the facility.