Park Crossing High School Featured in the National Building Museum

Designing for Disaster exhibit highlights Alabama as the only state requiring schools to have storm shelter

WASHINGTON, D.C. — From earthquakes and hurricanes, to flooding and rising sea levels, natural disasters can strike anywhere and at any time. No region of the country is immune from the impacts and rising costs of disaster damage. In light of this stark reality, the National Building Museum (NBM) opened the multimedia exhibition titled Designing for Disaster, a call-to-action for citizen preparedness—from design professionals and local decision-makers to homeowners and school kids.

The exhibition explores strategies local leaders are currently pursuing to reduce their risks and build more disaster-resilient communities.

A portion of the exhibition focusing on state building codes recognizes Alabama as the only state to require tornado safe rooms in new schools and features Montgomery, Ala.’s brand new Park Crossing High School to demonstrate how these storm shelters are being integrated.

Designed by architects from Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. (GMC), Park Crossing High boasts seven safe rooms within its multi-building, 165,390 square-foot campus. The storm-safe areas are integrated into classrooms and music/band rehearsal spaces throughout the school, which is safer than one large space and ensures everyone can reach a safe area in the shortest amount of time.

The rooms span two stories and are enclosed by rebar-reinforced concrete walls designed to meet the state-mandated Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters (ICC 500-2008). Heavy, steel shutters within the classrooms can be locked during severe weather events to keep debris and broken glass from flying inward, but also function as bulletin boards during regular class days. Altogether, Park Crossing has enough safe areas to protect 1,200 people from 250-mph winds.

GMC architects also designed Central High School of Clay County and Selma Public High School, the first schools in Alabama built to comply with the state-mandated ICC-500 Storm Shelter Standards that went into effect in July 2010. For more information, please contact Abby Basinger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



About Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc.

Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood, Inc. is one of the Southeast’s largest privately held engineering and architecture firms. The firm’s headquarters is located in Montgomery, Ala., with offices located throughout Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. For more information, and GMC’s Facebook Page.

 About the National Building Museum

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves.

On October 28, 2013, the American Architectural Foundation welcomed national leaders in design and education to the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural convening of the Design for Learning Council. A report on the proceedings will be available here shortly.

The Council is being formed through an invitation-only process and will be composed of an influential cross-section of leaders in education, technology, philanthropy, and design, including:

    • Innovative and entrepreneurial architects and educators;
    • Researchers from universities and other institutions focused on the learning environment’s impact on teaching and learning;
    • Technology and digital education specialists;
    • Product manufacturers engaged in education research;
    • Executives from national education and design organizations;
    • Business leaders engaged in education as part of their corporate citizenship efforts; and
    • Representatives of major education foundations.

Design for Learning is AAF’s national initiative to advance the compelling value of design and the design process in supporting educational innovations, improved learning outcomes, and stronger communities. It builds on AAF’s decade of experience engaging education leaders in more than 100 urban school districts—convening intensive design collaborations; conducting observational and applied research; and prototyping next-generation educational models.

Attendees: (From left, back row) David Greenberg, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Partnerships, University of Denver, and Founder, Denver School of Science and Technology; William Bushaw, PhD, Executive Director, PDK International; Tim Dufault, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, President & CEO, Cuningham Group Architecture; Charles Miller, PhD, Assoc. Professor, Learning Technologies/Co-Director, LT Media Lab, University of Minnesota; Ron Bogle, Hon. AIA, President & CEO, AAF; Mark Goodman, Publisher, Learning by Design; G. Craig Wilson, Director, Market Development, Steelcase Education Solutions; Jim Wood, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, REFP, Director, PK-12 Education, FGM Architects; Tom Carroll, President, National Commission on Teachers & America’s Future; Patrick Glenn, AIA, REFP, LEED AP, K-12 Regional Practice Leader, Perkins+Will; Kevin Sullivan, Program Specialist, AAF; Mark de Groh, Director of Knowledge Management & Innovation, AAF; Jim French, AIA, National Educational Leader, DLR Group; Thom Minner, Director of Planning, AAF; (from left, front row) Ira Socol, Design Project Manager, Albemarle County Public Schools; Eric Cantor, Chairman & CEO, New Mountain Learning; Kerry Leonard, AIA, Senior Education Planner & Principal, FGM Architects; Anne Bryant, Executive Director Emeritus, National School Boards Association; Pamela Moran, PhD, Superintendent, Albemarle County Public Schools; Pam Loeffelman, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal & K-12 Practice Director, SHW Group; Linda Lentz, Senior Editor, Architectural Record, McGraw-Hill Construction; Deb Grasman, Senior Interior Designer, Steelcase Education Solutions; John Pfluger, AIA, LEED AP, Principal Cuningham Group Architecture; Tom Rogér, Vice President & Senior Project Executive, Gilbane; Bryce Pearsall, FAIA, Managing Principal & Chairman, DLR Group (David Greenberg, Eric Cantor, Anne Bryant, and Bryce Pearsall are also members of the American Architectural Foundation’s Board of Regents).

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Industry News


States Invest to "Storm Proof" Schools with Safe Rooms
One billion dollars in damages - that was the Oklahoma Department of Insurance's estimate following the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013. Following this storm and others like the one that hit Joplin, Missouri, in 2011, school officials across the country are seeking better ways to protect students inside of educational facilities, and safe rooms are standing out as a popular -and sometimes economical - choice.  Read more

Top 20 U.S. Cities for Construction in 2013
The construction industry grew 10 percent in 2012, and is projected to grow another 12 percent in 2013, according to recent data from McGraw-Hill Construction.The data, taken between January and May 2013, also revealed the top 20 American cities for construction growth. The top cities are:
  1. New York
  2. Dallas
  3. Houston
  4. Washington D.C.
  5. Atlanta
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Miami
  8. Phoenix
  9. Boston
  10. Chicago
Read more to discover the next 10.
5 Tips for Designing Tech-Rich Spaces
Creating a technology-rich space in a school or college facility can take substantial time and funding, making it a challenging undertaking for many. A recent article from outlined a number of straightforward tips for incorporating technology-rich elements into academic buildings of all shapes and sizes, including:
  1. Put together a team of experts to handle the project from the outset.
  2. Find ways to get creative with funding, for example considering shared spaces with the local community that could ease the burden of costs.
  3. Make sure a strong telecommunications backbone is in place before the work begins and provide ample training.
Read more for the rest of the tips.

Volume 26/Fall 2017 

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Volume 26/Fall 2017 - Supplement



6:00 pm 02.26.2018 - 7:00 pm 02.28.2018
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03.04.2018 - 12.06.2017
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04.11.2018 - 12.14.2017
Association for Learning Environments Northeast Region (A4LE-NE)


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