Bunche Elementary Wins Design Awards At State Annual Convention

Bunche Elementary Wins Three Design Awards at State Annual Convention

Midland, Texas - The modern new building for Midland's Ralph Bunche Elementary School was chosen at the 2016 TASA/TASB Convention in Houston to receive three design awards. Local architectural firm Pate Architects joint-ventured with WRA Architects to design the new building for Midland Independent School District.  Lee Lewis Construction was the construction manager. The TASA/TASB Convention is the premier annual conference for Texas school board members and administrators.  

Midland architect, Walter Pate, AIA, Pate Architects’ Principal, said, "We are very pleased for Bunche Elementary to receive the 2016 Design Award. In addition, it was awarded the Planning Award and the Community Award."

Keith Anderson, AIA, WRA's Principal, elaborated, "The Planning and Community Awards recognized valuable input from the District and the Midland community, which included several Bunche alumni who served on the design committee. It was wonderful to design a building for a client so passionate about their school and students."

The new structure replaces the original Bunche school which had been demolished earlier, but MISD’s sustained growth required reusing this site. The new two-story school serves grades PreK-6 and accommodates many 21st Century learning methods including collaborative teaching areas, special-purpose and multi-function spaces, and shared community-use spaces. The 92,000 square foot building can house up to 800 students at full capacity. 

Each grade level has its own large collaboration space adjacent to its regular classrooms. Glass walls separating the classrooms from community spaces enable teachers and staff to monitor multiple areas simultaneously. Library books are dispersed throughout the collaboration areas in shelves on casters, and most of the stack space in the library is on casters for flexibility. The building is designed for significant energy savings by its optimum solar orientation, natural light throughout, automatic lighting, and computer monitored heating-air conditioning system.  

James Riggen, AIA, Midland ISD's Chief Operations Officer, commented, "The Pate/WRA architectural team listened carefully to both the District and the community. The planning and design process was extensive, and the architects were diligent to incorporate MISD's new 21st Century educational strategies into this building. We are eager to have Pate/WRA design more schools in Midland."  

 

Local Architect Appointed as Board Advisor, Focus on Construction Industry Shortage and Bright Futures without 4-Year Degrees

MIDLAND, TEXAS July 15, 2016 – Walter F. Pate, AIA, of Pate Architects has been appointed to serve a three-year term on the Architecture and Construction Program of Study Advisory Committee, as appointed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

When asked to describe the personal significance of this appointment and how it affects his industry, Pate responded, “I’m excited to serve on this board because it will provide many young people with an alternative path to success in lieu of a 4-year college degree. There’s a definite shortage of skilled workforce throughout Texas. From plumbers to electricians, masons to heating and air contractors, and all other building trades, the demand is high and supply is low.  It’s affecting the construction industry as a whole. That shortage is driving up construction costs and slowing down construction schedules.”

Over 30 years in architecture and 400 projects under his belt gives Pate the liberty to accurately speak on the topic of labor shortage and the ripple-effect it can have on the economy.

“Through trade schools and their 2-year programs, young people can still become business owners and entrepreneurs… be successful. They can have a very bright future without a 4-year degree and the considerable debt that can accompany it.”

Research conducted by the Idaho Department of Labor found that the average bachelor’s degree in the United States costs $127,000. Considering that 70% of students rely on loans to fund their education, it’s easy to see the daunting strain the debt can put on a young person entering the workforce for the first time. Plus, when you tack on the statistic that over 20% of students with loans owe more than $50,000 - and 5.6% owe more than $100,000 - it’s very apparent that rewarding alternative paths must be recognized and encouraged.

Another point of focus of this Program of Study is to address concerns about credit transfer agreements from community colleges and trade schools to universities. Creating industry-recognized standards between associate and baccalaureate degrees is a priority to avoid wasted credits, and in turn, wasted time and money.

For more information about the Texas Higher Education Board and the Architecture and Construction Program of Study, visit http://www.thecb.state.tx.us