Frisco ISD high school students are working with professional architects to determine the look and feel for a memorial space that will be constructed outside the District’s next new high school.
Some envision the space with inspirational quotes, stone columns, a tree, or sacred lawn, while other students imagine circular designs or images of birds in flight.
Memorial High School, currently under construction near Eldorado Parkway and Frisco Street, is the 10th high school in FISD. It will open in fall 2017, one year after Lebanon Trail High School, which will open in fall 2016 near Lebanon Road and Ohio Drive.
The Memorial High campus will feature some type of outdoor memorial or monument, based on the ideas and input of students at the Frisco ISD Career and Technical Education Center and approved by members of the FISD School Board.
Six teams of architecture and graphic design students have been working alongside their instructors and advisors from Stantec, the firm that designed Memorial High School, since August to develop concepts for the area east of the main entrance.
“Our goal in working with the students at the Frisco ISD CTE Center is to provide a process structure for their project that is very similar to one that we utilize in our office at Stantec,” said Trey Laird, principal with Stantec Architecture. “We hope that through exploring a real-world design project such as a memorial monument, students learn to employ several different skill sets in articulating a design response that can have a lasting community impact in Frisco.”
The student teams were tasked with designing a concept that reflects and honors the highest ideals of American culture – including those of service, patriotism, sacrifice and freedom – without promoting any specific war or branch of service.
In naming the school Memorial, the District hopes to pay tribute to those who choose service above self and who have dedicated their lives to serving others. This honors service men and women and all public servants, including FISD students who show compassion and a commitment to community on
a daily basis.
The designs had to incorporate flagpoles for the school, seating to support a public gathering space and materials complimentary to the overall school design. The size of memorial area was pre-determined by Stantec.
Advisors have been meeting with students over the last several weeks to offer tips, advice and criticism regarding their early designs. Teams presented their final design concepts on October 7 and received feedback on both their designs and presentation methods.
Laird praised several students’ presentation tools and skills as being “on par with university-level presentations.”
Fellow Stantec lead on the project, Dan Fletcher, confessed he found the quality of designs and presentations to be at a level he had not expected from high school students.
Taking constructive criticism and paring down or changing designs is something architecture students often find difficult, Laird said. He complimented the CTE students on their ability to take feedback and to be willing to change a concept.
“You are exploring and refining,” he told them. “This is one of the most important skills of an architect. You must find the most elegant idea…we struggle with that, with subtracting excess from a design. You all did a very nice job of navigating that issue. It took me two years to learn to do that.”
Students have already gained valuable skills and are building their resumes and portfolios while they’re still in high school.
“The students have learned about time management, building legitimate teamwork between group members, presentation techniques, design process and refinement, as well as how to present themselves in a professional manner,” said Clint Floyd, architecture instructor at the CTE Center.
Graphic design instructor Dianna Bacon told the architects she is happy that the project combines two curricular areas. Her graphic design students often create posters or clothing for Frisco ISD schools or community organizations. This gives her advanced students the opportunity to see other career possibilities for graphic artists.
Some senior architecture students will even get the opportunity to intern with Stantec next semester.
“This is a great time to meet and build connections,” Floyd said.
The next stage of the project will involve selecting which concept or portions of multiple concepts to carry forward for consideration by the Frisco ISD School Board on November 9.
The memorial will be a lasting example of Frisco ISD’s efforts to prepare students for the future by exposing them to authentic career experiences today.