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K. Ranney Named Top 20 Under 40

By | News

Kerri_RanneyColorKerri Ranney—Huckabee’s Director of Learning & Strategic Development Services—was named to Engineering News-Record’s Top 20 Under 40 Class of 2016. The Top 20 Under 40 list recognizes the top young construction / architectural professionals from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississipi and Oklahoma. Kerri was recognized for her contributions to the field of educational design. Click here to view the list.

Kerri was also recently appointed as the Southern Region Representative to the International Board for the Association for Learning Environments. The organization is dedicated to helping improve the educational environment, a mission for which Kerri is extremely passionate. She has been involved with the organization since 2008 and currently serves as Past President of the Southern Region.

For the past 16 years, Kerri has focused her career on serving educational clients—a passion that started in college when she spent a summer working in an educational design studio in Orlando. It was there that she determined her career focus, feeling drawn to educational design and the creativity and strategy that shapes the learning environment.

In 2013, Kerri joined Huckabee’s leadership team to head the Learning and Strategic Development department. Kerri crafted the department around providing services that would help schools evolve the learning experience—combining design, educational delivery and strategic vision into the master planning process. Under Kerri’s leadership, the Huckabee planning team is changing the landscape of educational design in Texas.

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Groundbreakings Across the State

By | Client News
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Huckabee celebrated groundbreaking ceremonies with Kaufman, Pflugerville and Whitney ISDs. Each event marked the culmination of an extensive planning and design process to bring state-of-the-art academic and athletic facilities to local students.

Kaufman ISD broke ground on their high school addition and renovation project. It’s part of a district-wide effort to address aging campuses and provide new, technology-rich instructional space for a growing student population. The design will create a unified campus, connecting disjointed buildings into a singular facility that brings academics, fine arts and athletics together. New technologies will be utilized to encourage innovation in learning and interior classroom windows help create a learning-on-display environment. The campus will be complete in 2017.

In Pflugerville ISD, school board members broke ground on a new elementary school and new district stadium. Timmerman Elementary School will replace the district’s oldest campus, providing students with a modern facility that features sustainable elements, offers flexibility in learning spaces and supports future growth. The new stadium seats 10,000 spectators and will serve multiple district high schools. Both projects are part of a $287 million bond program. Huckabee partnered with the district to develop a comprehensive plan for the bond. The new facilities are slated to open for the 2016-17 school year.

Huckabee joined Whitney ISD for the groundbreaking ceremony for their new athletic complex. The $11 million project was approved by voters in May and is the second phase of a master planning process that Huckabee helped the district develop (in 2012, WISD passed a $24.6 million bond for a new middle school and district renovations). The athletic complex will include a new competition stadium, new baseball and softball fields and four new tennis courts. The projects will be complete in time for the 2016-17 school year.

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Middle School Maker Space

By | Client News

Huckabee has long explored innovative ways to help school districts design spaces that engage students and support creativity. This concept has become an integral part of the planning and programming process as more and more clients are looking to incorporate flexible-use space into their facilities. Schools nationwide are integrating “maker” spaces into libraries and other areas.

At Midway Middle School in Midway Independent School District, Huckabee is designing a flexible-use makerspace where students have access to materials, tools and technology to freely create, or remake, physical and digital designs and prototypes. The project is part of a comprehensive district-wide initiative to help students prepare for the workforce and college, starting with the introduction of project-based learning techniques in elementary school and increasing in intensity through middle school and into high school. The makerspace in Midway Middle School will build off of similar spaces found in the district’s elementary schools (read more about the concept here), allowing students to work collaboratively and focus on problem-solving and innovation.

The project is part of a media center renovation for the school, which is creating intentional areas within the center that are clearly individualized and identified, yet cohesively integrated into the larger concept of a resource-rich and flexible-use learning space. The makerspace is adjacent to technology and learning resources, a future A/V lab, study and group presentation areas and a learning stair. The space will feature movable furniture, which will allow students to configure the area based on learning goals. In addition, it will offer ample physical and counter space, a sink and storage areas, wall-size dry erase boards and glazed partitions that can be arranged as needed.

Construction will take place in summer of 2016, opening in time for the 2016-17 school year.

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Haller Award: Ben Harris

By | News

Benchmark_HarrisColorBenchmark Harris, Huckabee’s Director of Engineering, was named the 2015 Haller Award recipient, an honor presented by The Masonry Society to an engineer or engineering firm that has enhanced the knowledge of masonry in practice. The award recognizes the “beauty, elegance and economy” of structural masonry projects.

Ben is being recognized for his contributions in design, as well as his contributions as a leading expert in the field. He has more than 18 years of experience, completing more than $2 billion in construction projects utilizing concrete masonry as a primary structural element.

In his profession, Ben is frequently sought out to share his expertise and has been a featured speaker at events and conferences for organizations including, the U.S. Department of Education, American Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of School Business Officials, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Brownsville, Structural Engineers Association of Texas, The Masonry Society, North American Masonry Conferences, ICON-Xchange and the International Masonry Institute. He has also been published by Structure Magazine, written numerous white papers and contributed to Masonry Designer’s Guide.

At Huckabee, Ben leads a team of 16 engineers and engineers-in-training. He promotes an informed and creative approach to developing solutions for educational design that integrate architectural and structural features. His team is heavily involved in the planning and design process, promoting collaboration, mentorship and shared knowledge to create innovative and structurally sound designs. Since joining the firm in 2011, Ben has led Huckabee’s engineering arm to become the top “Best Firm to Work For—Structural Engineering Firm,” in 2015 as named by Zweig Group.

The Haller Award—named in memory of Professor Paul Haller, an engineer who helped revolutionize the field—is reviewed annually; however, is not awarded each year. Ben is only the seventh recipient since the award was first bestowed in 1993.

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Rise Up West ISD Trailer Premiers

By | Client News

In 2013, the town of West, Texas suffered a tragedy, when a nearby fertilizer plant exploded, causing loss of life and irreparable damage to nearby buildings, including three of West ISD’s schools. As the heart of the community, the schools represented the enormity of the loss, as well as the community’s determination to “rise up.” More than two years later, the community is working together to restore their town, and the school district has turned tragedy into opportunity as they work with Huckabee to rebuild the district’s high school and middle school campus.

The documentary, Rise Up West ISD, follows the school district’s and community’s efforts to restore West—and documents their immense pride in their historic town. The feature will follow the town through next year, but the trailer premiered at the TASA / TASB convention for school district professionals. To follow West ISD’s progress and their efforts to “rise up,” visit www.RestoreWestISD.com.

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Texas Tech Honors Chris Huckabee

By | Higher Education

Chris Huckabee has been named the 2015 Texas Tech University College of Architecture Distinguished Alumni. The Architecture Alumni Association presents the award annually to graduates who have clearly defined excellence in their profession, as well as shown dedication to the field of architecture.

It’s truly an honor to be recognized by my alma mater. Texas Tech University’s College of Architecture has produced some of the best architects in the state, and I am proud to represent and support the program as a Distinguished Alumni.

Chris HuckabeeChief Executive Officer, Huckabee

Chris graduated from Texas Tech University’s College of Architecture in 1991. Upon graduation, he joined Huckabee full-time, having already spent the majority of his life learning about the field from his father, Tommie. Shortly after, Chris became President, and in 2001 took over as Chief Executive Officer. Under his leadership, Huckabee has grown from a 5-person shop to a more than 180-employee, multi-discipline firm with offices across Texas. It is one of the fastest growing architectural / engineering firms in the nation.

In addition to his business acumen, the Distinguished Alumni award recognizes Chris’ leadership in the community and his belief in developing a firm-wide culture of philanthropy. As a community leader, Chris served on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board where he worked to improve the quality and access of higher education to all Texans. He recently stepped down from his role, when he was appointed to the Board of Regents at Texas Tech University. Chris also serves on the Board of Trustees for Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of North Texas.

Through his family’s Huckabee Community Excellence Fund, Chris and the firm have given more than $1,000,000 to organizations that support education, health, community programs, arts and cultural affairs. Huckabee also routinely provides support to education foundations, local causes and continuing education opportunities, as well as encourages its employees to give back through volunteering and through the donation of goods and funds.

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Chris is one of the foremost CEOs in Texas, both within his field and as a business leader. His philosophy focuses on empowering employees and inspiring innovation, with the goal of providing the best-quality service to his clients. Chris also developed one of the top internship programs for recent college graduates, providing them with first-hand experience as they develop into successful architects and engineers.

As a testament to his leadership, Huckabee consistently appears on top industry lists for growth, workplace environment and innovation. In 2015, Zweig Group voted Huckabee the “Best Firm to Work For,” placing number three on the list for architecture firms and number one for structural engineering firms. Zweig Group also named Huckabee as a 2015, “Hot Firm.” Other recent recognitions include Engineering News Record’s “Top 500 Design Firms,” and Building Design + Construction magazine’s 2015 Giants 300 list as a “Top 10 K-12 School Sector” firm, among numerous school design awards.

The Architecture Alumni Association will make the announcement during a special presentation at the Texas Society of Architects Convention in November. Chris is the 34th alumni to receive the honor, joining a list of individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of architecture.

Throughout my career, I had the opportunity to learn from many great architects and business leaders. Passing that knowledge along and creating an environment that supports growth, mentorship and integrity in leadership is an important part of Huckabee’s success. We have recruited an incredible team that is playing an integral role in how instruction is delivered in Texas’ schools.

Chris HuckabeeChief Executive Officer, Huckabee
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Austin Business Journal Spotlight

By | Industry

Austin Business Journal visited Huckabee’s local office to take a tour of the newly designed space, located in The Domain in northwest Austin. The article (click here to view) provides a visual tour of the space, which was designed by Gensler, an architecture firm known for creating exceptional work environments.

Huckabee has six offices in Texas, located in Fort Worth, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and LEx Labs, our educational research lab, at Baylor University in Waco. Each space features a similar environment, making Huckabee feel like home regardless of where it’s located.

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LEx Labs Featured on KWTX News 10

By | News

LEx Labs—Huckabee’s educational research lab in partnership with ESC Region 12 at Baylor University—was featured on KWTX News 10 in Waco. The story illustrates how teachers and administrators from across the state are using the space to explore how students react to different learning environments.

Within the space, Huckabee’s clients have access to technology and flexible use furniture that is equipped with motion sensors. The sensors track furniture movement and how students adjust their surroundings to create the most comfortable learning space. As more and more clients utilize LEx Labs, Huckabee is generating valuable data to help school districts make informed decisions about their educational design programs.

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Groundbreakings Across the State

By | Client News

At Huckabee, we love the communities we serve, and we love helping to provide students with quality facilities that enrich quality education. In the past month, our Huckabee teams have been all over Texas, sharing in our clients’ joys as new campuses are opened and future campuses are coming to life.

In Dripping Springs ISD, our Austin team joined Tiger Nation to celebrate homecoming week at a community spirit rally. The team had the opportunity to share the design for the renovation of Tiger Stadium with the public. The much anticipated stadium, which started construction in August, will feature 8,000 seats, a new press box and amenities and will be located at the high school.

In Granbury, our Fort Worth team helped Granbury ISD and Superintendent Dr. James Largent cut the ribbon on the completed Phase 1 of extensive high school additions and renovations. Phase 1 opens the new cafeteria and coffee bar, learning commons, fine arts wing and the Willie and Wanda Crossland Academic Wing which houses ninth graders. Construction continues on the school’s career and technology addition, auditorium and science lab renovations and athletic improvements. The completion of Phase 1 marks a years-long effort and collaboration between the district, community and Huckabee to provide students with an exceptional learning facility.

Huckabee has also been proud to open several new schools for the 2015-2016 school year, including new elementary schools in Gatesville ISD, Palmer ISD and Prosper ISD, as well as a new junior high school in Alvarado ISD.

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Huckabee Opens New Headquarters

By | News
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Huckabee officially cut the ribbon last week for its new office space in Burnett Plaza in downtown Fort Worth—on the heels of the firm’s grand opening for its Austin office’s new location in The Domain weeks before. It was Huckabee’s first chance to welcome school district clients, corporate partners and special guests into the new office (to read more about Huckabee’s new corporate digs, click here). More than 200 people attended and had the opportunity to explore the office’s 45,000 square feet of collaborative and technology-driven work space.

In Fort Worth, Huckabee dedicated three meeting spaces in honor of individuals who have made an impact on the Huckabee story. The Terry Learning Center—the central space in which Huckabee employees gather to re-connect, learn and socialize—was re-dedicated in memory of Timothy Terry, a former employee who made a lifelong impression on the firm before his passing. The Newsom Room—a unique meeting space and central design element of the lobby—was dedicated in memory of Vernon Newsom, former Superintendent of Mansfield ISD. And, The Founders Room—a state-of-the-art conference room—was dedicated in honor of the company’s founder, Mr. Tommie Huckabee. In Austin, Huckabee dedicated The Hart Room in honor of Dr. Rob Hart, Superintendent of Liberty Hill ISD.

Huckabee has six offices in Texas, located in Fort Worth, Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and LEx Labs, our educational research lab, at Baylor University in Waco.

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Huckabee Named Giants 300 Top 10

By | Industry

Building Design + Construction magazine released the 2015 Giants 300 list, naming Huckabee #40 nationwide and #4 in the Top 10 K-12 School Sector for Architecture Firms. Of those recognized, Huckabee is one of the only firms that exclusively serves Texas educational clients.

The annual list is determined based on market-sector revenue, BIM revenue, green building work and other criteria. It represents the largest and most innovative firms in the architecture, engineering and construction fields. Huckabee has earned its spot as one of the leading architecture firms in the nation, having experienced record growth over the past five years. Since 2010, the firm has added regional locations to complement the corporate office in Fort Worth (including offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio) in addition to an educational research lab, LEx Labs, at Baylor University where the learning environment is being studied and explored.

“We continue to strengthen our presence—both in size and in innovation. Being recognized as a top firm is a reflection of these efforts, driven by our commitment to educational clients and the design of pioneering learning environments.”

Chris Huckabee, Chief Executive Officer, Huckabee
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Q & A with Konrad Judd

By | Industry

Konrad-Judd-ColorFor 48 years, Huckabee has helped our clients achieve innovation and excellence in educational design, and as our company has grown over the years, we’ve continued to add best-in-class expertise to our team. In 2013, Huckabee welcomed Konrad Judd, an international thought leader in educational design, as our Director of Design. Together, we’ve continued our commitment to Texas students and Texas schools, providing innovation, value and flexible designs to meet emerging trends in educational delivery.

Konrad’s first project with Huckabee was the design of Alvarado ISD’s new junior high school. Konrad and his team helped the district realize their goals of merging project-based learning strategies with a traditional learning environment. The result is a modern facility that will act as a benchmark for future projects in the district.

The Huckabee team joined Alvarado ISD for a special ribbon cutting ceremony in August, opening the doors for the community to explore their newest instructional facility. The new building is exceptional, and we sat down with Konrad to talk about the project and how Huckabee’s design team is making an impact in education.

Q1: The district started off the conceptual process with the idea of designing a traditional learning facility; however, Alvarado JHS is anything but. How did Huckabee work with the district to re-envision their goals?

Huckabee’s planning and design process is very collaborative—with involvement from each of our design disciplines. We work with districts in their schools, scheduling design charrettes onsite with administrators, faculty and other stakeholders to talk through their educational delivery goals and present concepts and ideas for design. When we started talking with the district, we realized their goals leaned more toward modern, project-based learning strategies.

Our design team put together several concepts for the district’s review, and we decided to move forward with a facility that included innovative learning elements. The selections aligned well with what the district wanted to accomplish, long term. The process was a game-changer, and elements that are found in the junior high school will be used in future facilities.

Q2: Innovative elements are found throughout the facility. How did your design team incorporate these elements into the design?

The broad philosophy in educational circles right now focuses on breaking down schools into smaller environments, providing a shared and more personal experience for groups of students. Often, students feel overwhelmed in larger school environments.

In Alvarado ISD, staff and administrators decided to break down the junior high by grade level, creating two distinct spaces for 7th grade on the lower level and 8th grade on the second level. Each grade level is then separated into smaller academic pods that contain classrooms and labs that are centered on a living room or shared space. The shared space is connected vertically with the other grade level by a stairway, creating opportunities for students to interact and for 8th graders to mentor their younger counterparts.

Notably, the classrooms in each academic pod have a section of glass walls, creating transparency from classroom to the shared space. This concept of transparency is trending right now as schools are moving toward active learning environments that incorporate smaller doses of traditional stand-and-deliver teaching. Transparency enhances an active learning environment and mimics many aspects of the workplace, better preparing students for their future.

The team also incorporated outdoor learning courtyards for each grade level. These courtyards connect to the academic pods and feature comfortable seating and planter boxes that can be used for science experiments. Finding ways to connect the indoors with the outdoors, an important feature for student development.

Q3: One of the unique features in the facility is a Genius Lounge. But, what exactly is a Genius Lounge?

Huckabee’s Genius Lounge is a combination of Apple’s Genius Bar and a lounge you’d find at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble. The space is found inside the library and features soft seating and an open concept. As today’s students are using libraries differently than generations before them, we must find ways to maintain the value in these types of spaces by encouraging scholarship and collaboration. The Genius Lounge accomplishes this, providing a comfortable space where students act as peer-to-peer geniuses as they problem solve together.

Q4: The facility has a modern aesthetic. How did your team’s selections fit into the district’s design goals?

Alvarado ISD was open to a design that was more progressive and sophisticated, blending professional with academic aesthetics. We used glass, steel, metal and masonry on the exterior to create the modern look, while incorporating wood, soft seating and pops of color inside to make it comfortable and suitable for the students and the academic environment.

Throughout the building the design team also placed brightly colored way-finding “portals.” These portals are intended to help students, teachers and visitors easily find areas of importance such as the entrance to the media center and academic pods, as well as other collaborative learning spaces. They also provided an opportunity to add visual interest and incorporate the school’s colors into the design.

Q5: What’s next for Huckabee’s clients?

Huckabee’s design department is working on some really exciting projects right now that are changing the way our schools think about educational delivery. We are working hand-in-hand with our planning teams to research the learning environment and design transformational spaces. In Dripping Springs, Georgetown, Killeen and Kaufman ISDs, as well as others, we are changing the design of learning spaces to support the way instruction is being delivered with today’s modern activity strategies and open-concept / flexible environments. Alvarado ISD’s new junior high is a great example of how we’re partnering with schools to enhance instruction and build a future for our kids.

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Huckabee Re-Opens Historic ES

By | Client News

The first iteration of Hommel Elementary School was The Everman School, a title still prominently displayed across the front of the building. It was built in 1922 for $31,000 and housed grades K-12. Since then, the building has undergone multiple renovations, losing many of its historic elements in the process. It is now Hommel Elementary School and serves Pre-K through 4th grade.

In 2014, Huckabee was tasked with renovating the space to provide additional classrooms, add safety and security updates and restore some of the school’s history. The renovation included a 2-story classroom addition, which allowed the school to get rid of portable buildings, as well as a secure-entry vestibule and upgrades to building systems. Most notably, however, are the ways in which Huckabee worked to restore the historic aesthetic. From restoration of the original floors to replicating design elements founds in the 1920s, Huckabee was able to bring back the building’s original charm

“During previous renovations, the floors had been covered in vinyl and then covered in carpet,” said Mike King, Associate Principal for the project. “When we pulled back the flooring, we realized there might be an opportunity to restore the original hardwoods. We did a test run in one of the classrooms, and the floors looked great. Now, throughout the building, the original hardwoods have been refinished and restored.”

During the floor restoration, Huckabee uncovered the original court markings from a gym added in the 1940s. The gym had been re-purposed as classroom space and is now the library. While Huckabee was unable to restore the original markings, we instead replicated them, including the historic Everman “E” at center court. It sits proudly at the center of the library, reminding students and teachers of the school’s long history.

Other unique elements include the use of tin ceiling tiles (similar to those used in the original design), walnut bead-board wainscoting and period-style lighting fixtures and window panes.

“We replaced all of the single-pane windows in the facility,” said Mike King. “We were able to provide the school with energy efficient replacement windows that were designed to fit the historic aesthetic. And while we were unable to save the marble sills, the director of facilities had his own idea to re-purpose the material—he cut the marble to make small paper weights for the school!”

Hommel Elementary re-opened in August, during a ribbon cutting ceremony that brought back alumni from the old days. One gentlemen was overheard saying, “I attended here in 1935 and it is so good to see my first grade classroom is still here.”

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Elementary School Design Spotlight

By | Client News

Huckabee joined Palmer ISD for a special ribbon cutting ceremony, as the district and nearly 1,000 community members celebrated the opening of their new elementary school. The new school provides an energy-efficient space that supports technology in the classrooms, creativity and future growth. It replaces a decades-old facility and was designed with learning, fun and safety in mind. The school will serve up to 570 students in Pre-K through 4th grade.

During the design process, Huckabee worked with teachers from each program area to develop a vision and plan for the facility. Staff shared ideas with the design team, creating ideal use for each space and talking through technology use, energy efficient solutions and design concepts. From windows in each learning space, to flexible-use activity rooms with kid-friendly colors and furniture, to whiteboards and technology access in the classrooms, the facility is an ideal space for primary instruction.

A unique feature of the facility is a flexible-use room in the library. Large, posh bean bags create the ideal space to lounge with a book, and a brightly lit ceiling feature gives students the feeling that they are “under water,” looking up into the ocean as turtles swim by.

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Huckabee Opens New Corporate Digs

By | Industry

Huckabee has been voted “Best Place to Work,” numerous times—just ask our employees, and they’ll tell you why. We have passion, we have incredible work environments, we are committed to our craft and most importantly, we have amazing coffee (a critical factor when working with architects, engineers and creative types).

Over the past five years Huckabee has been in growth mode, growing our staff, our services and our offices—now with locations in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Waco and Dallas, where we can provide personal services to our school district clients. And, with growth, comes innovation, and with innovation, comes an idea to design our workspace around what being a “Huckabeean,” really means. And what it really means, is really awesome.

Huckabee’s corporate headquarters relocated to its new, state-of-the-art office this week. Located in downtown Fort Worth, the 2-story Hucka-cool space embodies the firm’s commitment to excellence, designed to address the needs of our employees so they can focus on the needs of our clients. Walk in, and you’re greeted by Corey, our corporate barista. Take a seat in the Huckabean Cafe and he’ll make you a cup of coffee to start your day. Stop by on a Tuesday or Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and join in on the double shot happy hour (coffee only, thank you).

The lobby and coffee bar are the central hub of the office, offering flexible use space (and sweeping downtown views) for impromptu meetings, creative sessions, client meetings or a game of ping-pong in between marathon design sessions. The Huckabee brand is seen everywhere, from the custom-designed logo lights that highlight the staircase to color selections throughout and even in the tile selection for the magazine-worthy finishes in the restrooms.

“Each and every space in the office was tailored to fit the needs of our employees and to personify our brand,” said Chris Huckabee, CEO of the firm. “We are constantly on the move, constantly thinking and seeking inspiration. The office was designed to ignite this passion—providing a space that our employees can share with each other and share with clients.”

Sit-to-stand desks are used at each workstation and an open concept environment promotes teamwork. Collaboration pockets and workspaces are located throughout the building, featuring comfortable chairs and situated with the best views of downtown. Large, open workrooms are a designer’s dream, with wide expanses of counter surfaces, storage and natural light for Huckabee’s interior designers to select finishes and for the architectural and structural teams to review plans and drawings.

Modern and technology-rich, Huckabee’s new office is nothing short of incredible (according to Ken, an architectural intern, the only thing missing is a slide). Even more incredible, Huckabee’s offices across the state (in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Waco and Dallas) feature similar environments, making Huckabee feel like home regardless of where it’s located.

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Huckabee Opens Research Lab

By | Industry

This June, Huckabee celebrated the opening of its new research lab, Learning Experience Laboratories or LEx Labs. The facility was opened in partnership with ESC Region 12 at the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative and will act as a unique space to study how the learning environment impacts education.

“The goal and the vision of LEx Labs questions, how can we impact children’s lives?” said Chris Huckabee, CEO of Huckabee. “There’s not a learner today that is the same as a learner from 10 years ago. We have an opportunity here to study state-of-the-art education for the modern and future student. More importantly, to study what really matters in an educational environment.”

A leader in educational design, Huckabee is committed to understanding how learning environments impact student achievement. Through LEx Labs, Huckabee will explore technology use, spatial arrangements and partner with Baylor on research that studies how real learners interact in the learning environment. “The research will be shared with our clients, allowing us to invest our resources to determine best practices before asking school districts to invest theirs,” said Chris.

Huckabee was joined by Dr. Jerry Maze, Director of Region 12, Dr. Truell Hyde, Baylor University Vice Provost for Research and other leaders, dignitaries and staff members from the University, Region 12, Huckabee and numerous other organizations for this important event.

LEx Labs will also be used as a professional development space for educators. This summer, over 1,000 teachers from ESC Region 12 will utilize the space to explore best practices and innovative concepts for instruction. “LEx Labs is a great opportunity for education and for our educators,” said Dr. Jerry Maze. “Region 12 will be training the best of the best here.”

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Huckabee Earns Top Industry Nods

By | Industry

Huckabee was named a Zweig Group Hot Firm for 2015, being noted as one of the 100 fastest growing architecture firms in the United States and Canada. The list recognizes firms in the architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting professions that have “outperformed the economy and competitors to become leaders in their chosen fields.”

The firm was also recognized by Zweig Group as a Best Firm to Work For in 2015, placing number three on the list for architecture firms and number one for structural engineering firms. The Best Firm award recognizes excellence in workplace practices, employee benefits, retention rates and feedback from employees.

This summer, Huckabee was also named one of Engineering News Record’s Top 500 Design Firms, jumping to 360 from 421 in 2014. In the regional Texas-Louisiana edition, Huckabee ranked 43, up three spots over last year. This is the fourth consecutive year Huckabee has been recognized on these lists.

Huckabee Forms Research Venture

By | Industry

The Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12, in Waco has partnered with Huckabee, an educational architectural, engineering and management firm, to design and test the next-generation of innovative classrooms and laboratories in a near-6,000-square-foot educational research facility to be located in the BRIC. The partnership constitutes the first project fully dedicated to one of the founding objectives of the BRIC: furthering education and research in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The research partnership will allow teachers and students to “test-drive” the Huckabee-designed learning spaces developed in the BRIC for periods of days, weeks and even months. During this time, Baylor researchers will observe both teachers and students, compiling data to evaluate the effectiveness of each new concept. Based on data collected, Huckabee will provide new or improved designs, with the most successful design elements eventually deployed in school districts throughout the state.

Dr. Jerry Maze, ESC Region 12 executive director views the opportunity as a “three-way-win” for everyone involved.

“It’s such an exciting concept because it will give our teachers and students an opportunity to be trained on state-of-the-art equipment and designs. At the same time we will have the benefits of the metrics and of knowing the impact we’re having on student achievement,” he said. “In addition, Huckabee will know which design concept they can best refer to their clients, and Baylor will perform the research that’s associated with the project.”

The architecture firm’s CEO, Christopher Huckabee, is a two-term member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He says that, for his firm, the facility constitutes an invaluable “flexible-classroom laboratory” that will focus on developing modular spaces that can be easily and quickly reconfigured into learning environments specifically tailored to teaching each subject in a way that accommodates how middle- and high-school students learn in the digital age.

“Our learner today is a very unique learner even from just ten years ago,” Huckabee explained. “Today’s students don’t necessarily learn from a teacher standing in front of a classroom lecturing to them; they learn through individual study and group collaboration, from distance learning, video conferencing and different types of media. The classroom is changing dramatically.”

Expectations for success are high among all participants as they anticipate a BRIC move-in this fall. “We are all very excited,” Maze said. “It is a powerful opportunity for three entities such as Baylor, Huckabee and ESC Region 12 to work together for such a large number of teachers and students in our 12-county region. It’s a unique, intellectual challenge and we certainly look forward to the partnership and the benefits it will have for education in this region.”

Dr. Truell Hyde, Baylor vice provost for research and director of the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research, is also very pleased with the development of this major STEM initiative in the BRIC.

“Educational research and STEM programs are essential to the economic development of the region,” Hyde said. “Long-term, quantifiable research providing data accurately evaluating the effects of both the classroom environment and curriculum intervention does not exist. This partnership establishes Baylor, ESC Region 12 and Huckabee at the cutting edge of this fundamental question.”

ABOUT ESC REGION 12
Education Service Center Region 12 focuses on helping schools save money and leverage resources into the classroom. One of 20 regional education service centers statewide, ESC Region 12 offers training and expert assistance to educators and school personnel in order to increase student achievement. Based in Waco, ESC Region 12 serves 77 school districts, 12 charter and private/parochial schools in Bell, Bosque, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas, Limestone, McLennan, Mills and Navarro counties.

ABOUT HUCKABEE
Founded in 1967, Huckabee provides comprehensive educational facility services including assessments, master planning, architectural design, interior design, technology and security design, structural engineering, civil engineering and construction administration. The firm has completed over 3,000 educational projects for more than 150 school districts across Texas. Huckabee was selected to rebuild the West ISD high school and middle schools destroyed in the tragic April 17, 2013 fertilizer plant explosion.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

New Report on Texas School Construction

By | Industry

The Fast Growth School Coalition and Huckabee have developed and released a school facilities report entitled, “Texas Schools Aren’t Average,” which is in response to information that has been disseminated by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. While the comptroller’s information averages the cost and sizes of school buildings across the state, “Texas Schools Aren’t Average” provides a more accurate portrayal of potential cost differences based on:

  • Regional differences such as climate and soil type
  • Construction considerations such as foundation types and local building codes
  • Input by local community members regarding the type of facility they want for their students

The report consistently emphasizes that “in Texas, decisions regarding public education are made by local communities, and since local communities are all different, that means decisions about educational programs and school buildings are going to vary considerably across the State of Texas.”