System Requires a Reboot! How Facility Planning Saved a Struggling School System

AIA Continuing Education Provider

Declining enrollment – Inequity – Increased security concerns – Aging facilities – Failing test scores – Multiple open-plan schools – Reduced funding – New mandates: For Dorchester County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the hits kept coming with no relief in sight. Recognizing that addressing these issues as in the past wasn’t an option and that resilience internally within the schools and externally across their communities was called for, County leadership decided that a time-out and re-set was needed. A District-wide Facility Plan was commissioned, charged with making recommendations for facility improvements that would support their Vision for Learning, reduce the overall inventory of school space, address the open-plan and other critical facility deficits, and provide learning environments for ALL Learners to succeed. This session will provide a behind-the-curtain look at the process, efforts, and results of this process. How to scale a time-tested process template to respond to the unique factors at the district will be discussed, along with key take-aways of the challenges and successes the team faced. Attendees will engage in different activities that will help them explore ways this approach can be adapted to a variety of large-scale planning scenarios.

Learning Objectives:

  1. This session will help expand one’s ability to conduct a holistic facility planning process that truly welcomes and engages ALL members of a community into the conversation recognizing that the unique needs and styles of various cultures require tailoring one’s approach.
  2. Additionally, in light of the increase in school violence, the session will help broaden one’s understanding of the elements critical for creating safe, secure and welcoming environments that celebrate the brilliance of all learners.
  3. It will also assist in expanding the range of techniques that can be used to effectively/realistically assess a facility’s ability to support a culture of care, safety, equity, and inclusion – attributes critical for learning.
  4. Finally, the session is designed to provide participants with a renewed sense of optimism and resilience by seeing how even the more severe of situations can be made better through a thoughtful, scalable and wholistic process.
Judith Hoskens, Associate AIA, Fellow-A4LE, REFP, LEED AP®, AIA
Judith Hoskens, Associate AIA, Fellow-A4LE, REFP, LEED AP®, AIA
Committee on Architecture for Education 2022, Chair Independent Educational Visioning & Planning Consultant 

Judy is an independent Educational Visioning and Planning Consultant, a thought leader responsible for the planning and design of innovative learning experiences for ALL learners. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota and is past president of A4LE. As Chair for the Committee on Architecture for Education, she facilitated the 2022 AIACAE Convening of Experts in Education, Mental Health, Security, Justice & Housing – Cultivating Community and Safety in Schools.

Peter Winebrenner, AIA
Peter Winebrenner, AIA
Principal, Hord Coplan Macht

Peter is a Principal in Hord Coplan Macht’s Education Studio and is the East Coast K12 practice leader. He leverages his 25+ years of experience in campus planning and design, overseeing a studio of passionate, like-minded design professionals. He is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the learners and teachers through creating transformative learning environments. Peter is frequently invited to share his knowledge and insights on many topics affecting school planning and design.

Chris Hauge
Chris Hauge
School Facilities Engineer, Independent Educational Visioning & Planning Consultant

Chris has led facility improvement efforts for Dorchester Schools for 25 years. Recruited from private industry to build consensus to lead a complex, historic high school replacement, Chris subsequently built teams to replace/renovate 1/3 of the 15 facilities (approximately $200,000,000) while implementing systemic renovations (approximately $100,000,000) districtwide. Not just a technician, he is passionate to address needs for ALL 21st Century Learners. The impact on human performance is the essence of his work.

Track: Resiliency

This track focuses on Resiliency and addresses how learning environments support the development of students and communities that have the strength and flexibility to withstand adversity and adapt to change. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the essential role that schools have in stabilizing communities during a time of crisis. How do schools support the development of strong community culture among teachers and students? How do schools foster physical and mental health and wellness to ensure all are ready and supported to learn? How do we create learning environments that are strong in intent yet adaptable to change? How do we learn from what does not work and further, learn to take risks daily to expand our comfort zone? What can we learn from research and our responses to past events to inform how to build toward a resilient future where we can withstand what crises and challenges the future brings? Topic areas, seen through the lenses of both Art and Science, include sustainability, physical and mental health, community, school climate and culture, safety, and security.

Primary Core Competency
Educational Facility Pre-Design Planning: Manages a master planning process that combines educational planning, facilities assessment and utilization, demographic research, capital planning and educational specifications with a community-based vision to establish a plan for learning environments. This includes the ability to translate existing or aspirational instructional models to specific programming and spatial relationships.


Hilton Chicago
720 S. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

October 12-15, 2023


+1 480.391.0840