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Jennifer Wilson

Wagner MS Caudill Class

By | News

George Wagner Middle School in Georgetown ISD was named a finalist for the Caudill Class, the highest honor awarded as part of the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture competition. The school received four Stars of Distinction in Design, Community, Planning and School Transformation. Within the same district, Purl Elementary School received three Stars of Distinction, situating GISD as the only school district with two recognitions for 2018-2019.

Wagner Middle School opened in 2017. It’s a beautiful and exciting campus that is playing a critical role in Georgetown ISD’s evolution toward choice, customization and innovation in instruction. The design was the result of a comprehensive planning process that unified ideas from school leaders, community members, students and educators. Huckabee is honored to share this incredible recognition with the many people who imagined what Wagner could become.

The configuration of the school emphasizes choice and shared learning. Academics are split into “dens” for 6th grade, STEM and humanities. Each den features classrooms, labs, flex space, a teacher design lab and outdoor patio. The district removed classroom ownership to support more collaborative and customized instruction, requiring the dens to be highly adaptable and suitable for use by multiple teachers with a variety of curriculum needs and student learning styles.

Dens surround a 2-story commons that brings learning, socialization, assembly and collaboration together into one space. The team prioritized transparency as a way to promote personal responsibility for students and passive supervision for teachers. They adopted a use for all common areas and corridors by using furniture to maximize space for learning.

Wagner Middle School is progressive not just in design, but in how educators approach instruction. The learning environment supports autonomy, trust, responsibility and a more project-based approach. The enthusiasm for learning is noticeable in the way students buzz around the building, accessing every nook and cranny to design their learning experience.

About the Exhibit of School Architecture

Wagner Middle School is one of four Huckabee projects to be recognized in the Exhibit of School Architecture competition. GISD’s Purl Elementary School also received multiple Stars of Distinction in the categories of Community, Planning and School Transformation. Fort Bend ISD’s James Patterson Elementary School and Kaufman ISD’s Kaufman High School received recognition for School Transformation.

The Exhibit of School Architecture awards are given at the discretion of a 12-member jury, which includes: four school board members, four administrators, two representatives from the Texas Society of Architects and two representatives from the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE). To be eligible for consideration for the 2018 Exhibit of School Architecture, projects had to be newly constructed or renovated public education facilities completed in the past five years.

About the Caudill Class

The Caudill Class is reserved for projects that received four or more Stars of Distinction. It is the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture’s highest recognition and is named after Texas architect William Wayne Caudill (1914–1983), whose progressive concepts continue to influence school design. Winners will be announced in January.

Exhibit of School Architecture

By | News

Huckabee is excited to announce that Fort Bend ISD’s James Patterson Elementary School, Kaufman ISD’s Kaufman High School, Georgetown ISD’s Annie Purl Elementary School and Georgetown ISD’s George Wagner Middle School received Stars of Distinction for the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture competition. It’s a recognition we are proud to share with our incredible partners! The awards highlight excellence in planning and design of learning environments.

Patterson Elementary School and Kaufman High School received recognition for School Transformation. Purl Elementary School received Stars of Distinction for Community, Planning and School Transformation. Wagner Middle School received the highest honor, being noted in the categories of Design, Community, Planning and School Transformation and qualifying for the prestigious Caudill Class. Notably, Georgetown ISD was the only school district to receive honors for multiple schools.

Finalists in the Caudill Class are selected based on receiving four or more Stars of Distinction. The award is the highest level of recognition for the competition and is named after influential Texas architect William Wayne Caudill (1914-1983). The winner will be announced in January.

About the Award-Winning Projects

Each of these schools was the result of a thoughtful planning and design process, and each feature unique attributes that inspire, excite and influence learning.

Patterson Elementary School in Fort Bend ISD is a LEED certified campus. The design creates a more engaging and collaborative space, where students and teachers break out of the classroom for instruction. “Learning pockets” are found throughout, from the 2-story library with flexible furniture, to bench seating in corridors, collab space in classroom wings and an outdoor garden and patio.

Kaufman High School underwent a complete transformation. Multiple buildings were brought under a single roof with unifying elements such as an open and collaborative bistro / library / commons. A new performing arts center, competition gymnasium and CTE wing established a more comprehensive campus. Notably, CTE programs were elevated with the inclusion of a state-of-the-art culinary kitchen, robotics labs and television studio.

The design of Purl Elementary School is inspired by the nearby town square. Classroom wings surround a high-volume commons in the same way storefronts surround the county courthouse, creating a central hub of activity. While interior finishes, furniture and function take a modern form, exterior detailing borrows from the aesthetic of the community’s historic buildings. This community-driven school also features a unique volunteer lab in the secure entry vestibule.

At Wagner Middle School, the configuration emphasizes choice and shared learning. Students have a home base in one of three “dens” for STEM, humanities and 6th grade. They have the ability to spill out from dens into collaborative workspace, outdoor space, the commons, corridors, a maker space and the library. Transparency is critical to the model, and the design of classrooms, teacher design labs and common areas emphasize sightlines and connectivity.

The award-winning projects, along with other projects submitted, will be displayed at the TASA / TASB Exhibit of School Architecture at the annual convention on Sept. 28-30 in Austin. To learn more, visit www.texasschoolarchitecture.org.

About the Exhibit of School Architecture

The Exhibit of School Architecture awards are given at the discretion of a 12-member jury, which includes: four school board members, four administrators, two representatives from the Texas Society of Architects and two representatives from the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE). To be eligible for consideration for the 2018 Exhibit of School Architecture, projects had to be newly constructed or renovated public education facilities completed in the past five years.

Huckabee Profiled by AIA

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AIA National featured Huckabee in its most recent newsletter, interviewing our CEO, Chris Huckabee, about how our focus on education led to record growth over the past couple of decades. In the article entitled, “This Texas firm survived a downturn by solving problems beyond design,” Chris shares about Huckabee’s culture of learning, our commitment to Texas education and how innovation in our service offerings led to more opportunity. Read the article, here.

Huckabee Opens New Office

By | News

We’re excited to announce the re-opening of our Huckabee Dallas office, located in Granite Park in Plano, a vibrant live, work, play community. The location is near the epicenter of booming development in North Dallas and provides easy access to our clients across the region. It is the latest of our office spaces to be redesigned and relocated to meet the needs of our team and our partners. Our new base provides us with more space to grow, more space to collaborate, more space to engage with clients and more space to gather and enjoy a cup of coffee.

“The opportunity to grow in this way, to offer these environments to our team and our clients is a direct result of their shared work and commitment to Texas education,” said Josh Brown, Vice President and Director of Dallas. “We practice what we preach. Schools today are more collaborative and more personalized than ever. Our efforts to re-think our work environments embrace the same ideals we talk to our clients about—shared experiences, flexibility, opportunity and a holistic approach.”

In true Huckabee style, the design embraces our brand in form and function. From the signature neon “More Than Architects” sign and pops of red to an open work environment, sit-to-stand desks and a custom crit bar. A coffee bar sits up front, leading into a large workspace with floor to ceiling views. A premium is placed on shareable spaces that feature writable surfaces, technology and comfortable seating. Environmental graphics, signage and design touches elevate the space. Reflective film lines the glass of each conference room, creating a spectrum of colors that change as you move.

Above all, the space represents Huckabee’s commitment to creative and engaging work environments; places where Huckabee-ans and our partners can be inspired.

“Our workspaces are important to us,” said Josh. “They are places for our team and our clients to bring their ideas to life. We have a very connected and collaborative culture; it’s one of the first things you recognize when you walk into any one of our offices.”

Huckabee has offices in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, in addition to an educational research facility at Baylor University. The Dallas office is located at Granite Park Building 5, 5830 Granite Parkway, Suite 750 in Plano, Texas.

Inaugural WHOA Award Presented

By | News

At this year’s Christmas party, our leadership team presented the inaugural WHOA Award, a recognition created in memory of our friend and colleague, Jerry Hammerlun. Jerry joined Huckabee in 2001 and served our firm, our team and our clients with integrity, focus and enthusiasm. He was an incredible man whose legacy lives on in so many ways.

The WHOA Award is a special distinction that recognizes an individual who “took hold of the reins” and expertly guided the team with wisdom, integrity and spirit—in the same way that Jerry guided our team throughout his tenure at Huckabee. The honor was bestowed on Larry Cousin in our Fort Worth office. Larry was critical to our team this year, and we were pleased to recognize his contribution, commitment and wisdom.

The award was originally presented to Jerry many years ago by Chris Huckabee in the form of actual reins. Our founder, Tommie Huckabee, felt the reins needed a place to rest, aptly, a horse. Tommie, a skilled woodworker, sculpted the piece as a gift to Jerry. The reins were a perfect fit, and the award became a legacy, referred to as others at Huckabee exhibited similar fortitude and ingenuity. Its resurgence is one of the many ways that Jerry continues to touch our lives.

Huckabee Achievement Awards

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As our 50th year came to a close, we took one more opportunity to celebrate as a family at our annual Christmas party. More than 350 people gathered for the celebration, which brought together employees and their loved ones from each of our five offices. It’s one of our favorite events of the year, a time when we reflect on the incredible people we’ve met, projects we’ve embarked on and experiences we’ve shared. 

During the event, our team honored employees for years of service and achievement. Notably, Huckabee recognized Daren Kirbo for 20 years of service. Daren joined the firm in the summer of 1997, working first in Stephenville and later in Fort Worth before opening our Austin office in 2011. He is beloved by our team and clients, and he is known for his spirit and deep care for each of the communities he serves.

Congratulations to Daren and all of our colleagues who were recognized for their years of service!

  • Erin Evans, five years of service
  • Courtney Foster, five years of service
  • Brian Green, five years of service
  • Lauren Hoyle, five years of service
  • Laura McCollum, five years of service
  • Megan Smith, five years of service
  • Levi Swinney, five years of service
  • Roberto Zuniga, five years of service
  • Jay Graham, 10 years of service
  • Pam Riley, 10 years of service
  • Daren Kirbo, 20 years of service

During the event, our team had the privilege of recognizing a dear colleague and friend who left us too early in 2017. In memory of Jerry Hammerlun, we established the WHOA Award, a special distinction that recognizes an individual who “took hold of the reins” and expertly guided the team with wisdom, integrity and spirit—in the same way that Jerry guided our team throughout his tenure at Huckabee. The honor was bestowed on Larry Cousin in our Fort Worth office. Larry was critical to our team this year, and we were pleased to recognize his commitment and wisdom.

Other employees were honored with the Huckabee Achievement Award and the Best Practices Award. The prestigious Achievement Award recognizes an individual who is characterized by their commitment to excellence and dedication to our clients and to our team. It was presented to Les Reddin from our Austin office, an individual who represents all of these attributes and more. The Best Practices Award was given to Javier Rosero in Houston for taking an innovative approach to establishing new ideas and processes.

Groundbreaking in Boerne ISD

By | Client News

Boerne ISD and Huckabee broke ground on Capt. Mark Tyler Voss Middle School this month. In a special ceremony, the district recognized the school’s namesake, the late Mark “Tyler” Voss, who was a Boerne graduate and Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force.

The school serves grades 6-8 with a full complement of fine arts, CTE and athletic amenities. The library, which is centrally located to three classroom wings, offers access to a unique exterior courtyard. The outdoor space features tiered seating and a small platform that can be used as a stage. The 2-story facility was built on a greenfield site in one of the fastest growing communities in the district. It opens in fall 2019 and will be the district’s third middle school.

Huckabee Wins Trifecta Award

By | News

Huckabee was one of only nine firms to accept Zweig Group’s esteemed Trifecta Award at the 2017 Hot Firm Conference. This distinction recognizes companies that have received Best Firms to Work For, Hot Firms and Marketing Excellence awards within the same year. We are happy to share this special honor with every member of our team.

Notably, Huckabee was proud to rank as the #1 Best Firm to Work For in the architecture category. A combination of employee surveys and corporate evaluations were conducted to determine rankings for the award. Huckabee is continuously dedicated to being more than a workplace, and you can learn more about what this award means to us here.

Zweig’s Hot Firm Award recognizes the fastest growing companies in the architecture, engineering and planning industry. This year, Huckabee was ranked #8 out of 100. 

Huckabee also entered into the Special Event Category for the Marketing Excellence Award, submitting our campaign for the internal launch of our 50th anniversary celebration. The event was recognized for its “outstanding and effective” marketing effort. It featured spontaneous launch parties at each office with a “swag grab” and branding campaign focused on the meaning of 50 years. The campaign continued throughout the year, culminating in a 50th anniversary celebration, Huckapalooza, for our employees and their families.

Chris Huckabee, Chief Executive Officer; Kim Hopper, Chief Human Resources Officer; and Kenny Martin, Director of Project Practice, travelled to Seattle to accept the awards on behalf of the team.

“Receiving the Trifecta Award in our 50th year is the icing on the cake. This kind of recognition is the perfect way to kick off the next 50 years,” said Kim.

Wagner Middle School Opens

By | Client News

Students from George Wagner Middle School in Georgetown ISD moved in to their new facility, welcomed by a parade of students, community members, teachers and Mr. Wagner himself. The campus is one of two new schools that support a more progressive approach to teaching and learning.

In recent years, Georgetown ISD adopted a learner profile that promotes critical thinking, innovation, exploration and personal responsibility. The schools, including Wagner Middle School and Purl Elementary School, along with renovations to Tippit Middle School, Georgetown High School and an administration building, are designed to support the new learning model. They are highly collaborative and flexible, technology rich and supportive of not only student learning, but also, professional development for educators.

At Wagner, Learning centers for STEM, humanities and a 6th grade wing include classrooms, labs and teacher planning rooms. Movable walls, flexible furniture and overhead reels for power maximize adaptability for small and large group instruction. In each space, four central classrooms can open into one large area, promoting collaboration and transparency.

Other unique features include an expansive art patio and learning courtyard adjacent to the library. The library also features a maker space and movable walls that open to create a multi-purpose area that overlooks the student commons. The commons and cafeteria feature a learning stair, pre-event space and large stage that adapts to multiple purposes. The central Design Lab, located adjacent to the core of the building, has direct views into the commons, providing a key opportunity for teachers and administrators to collaborate and design engaging learning experiences while modeling the expectations of all learners in the building. Direct views allow the teachers to passively supervise students who choose to learn in the commons between, and even during, dining activities.

 

Memorial Stadium Breaks Ground

By | Client News

Huckabee joined Tarleton State University for the “groundbreaking” of the Memorial Stadium expansion that will create a more exciting and engaging gameday experience for fans. It’s the largest renovation project in the stadium’s 65-year history.

Huckabee team members were in attendance, along with President F. Dominic Dottavio, A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, Tarleton officials, state representatives and special guests. To mark the symbolic groundbreaking, the group lined up on the field with a cup filled with turf. As each person threw turf on the ground, a rendering of the new stadium was revealed.

The expansion will transform the current visitor’s seating on the west side to host home fans and will be named the Lonn Reisman Athletic Center in honor of the university’s athletic director. The center includes a new press box, suites, enhanced concessions and modern amenities. Overall seating will increase from 7,400 to more than 9,000, as well as add premium seats and hospitality suites. Other renovations will be completed to the entrances and ticket booths as well as replacement of football and track-and-field surfaces.