HOUSTON, TX – The Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of School Boards awarded the prestigious Caudill Award to Spring ISD and SHW Group for the design of the Carl Wunsche Sr. High School, a public career academy school. The award is based on five criteria: value, process of planning, design, educational appropriateness and innovation.
The school was designed by SHW’s Houston studio. Contributing to the project design was Kingwood resident and managing principal, Mark Lam, as well as Kingwood graduates Chris Hinton and Jeff Chapman
The academy school integrates instruction in core subjects (English, math, science, social studies) with studies in career fields to provide students with a relevant, real-world context they find engaging and motivating. The school is organized around three academies, each serving about 500 students: legal, business and child studies; technology; and medical and biological services.
“Three successive career pods, rather than classrooms, are either open office cubical space or glass-encased,” explained Bill Wadley, SHW’s lead designer of Wunsche. “Students are able look into each other’s learning environments and observe the interactive learning taking place.”
“This makes learning exciting,” says Debi Koch, Wunsche principal. “Students get to show off their work, and other students are motivated by what they see. It fosters a sense of respect among our students and adds to the feel of collaboration and openness.”
Students are further inspired with hands-on education at the on-site, working childcare center, veterinary clinic, culinary kitchen and automotive garage. There is also a television studio with broadcast quality cameras and production equipment and a state-certified courtroom, as well as to a plethora of computer labs for graphic design, engineering, AutoCAD and other programming courses.
Wunsche High School is one of several schools resulting from Spring ISD’s 2003 bond program. Before the planning began, SHW joined with the district’s school board members, administrators and teachers in a four month visioning process to explore broad concepts for teaching and learning encompassing all of the district’s facilities and programs.
The Caudill Award is a collaborative project between the Texas Association of School Administrators, the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Society of Architects. It acknowledges excellence in the planning and design of Texas public education facilities. The Caudill Award is presented in honor of William Caudill, FAIA, and his distinctive and innovative achievements in this field. This marks the second time one firm has won the award two years in a row. The first time was in 2000 and 2001, and SHW-designed schools also received both awards.
Founded in 1945, SHW Group is an architectural firm specializing in learning environments where ideas are sparked, minds are engaged and future leaders are inspired. SHW’s work spans the globe with projects in 23 states and three countries. We believe educators have the power to change the world through each student they impact. Our mission is to make significant and lasting contributions to communities by creating efficient learning environments that maximize potential and inspire excellence.