SAN ANTONIO, Texas — O’Connell Robertson served as the local host firm for teams participating in the Planning + Design Challenge 2015, a student exercise held in conjunction with the PDC Summit, a conference focused on healthcare planning, design and construction held in San Antonio, March 15-18. Four teams of architecture, engineering and construction management students and their faculty advisors participated in the challenge, with each team including a student from Clemson, Texas A&M, Penn State and Purdue Universities. The purpose was to pose a real-world challenge to help students appreciate a multi-disciplinary work culture and hone their interprofessional skills while exploring innovative design, planning and engineering solutions.
The students, faculty and design advisors met at O’Connell Robertson’s office on March 13. After a tour of the office and breakfast, they learned about their assigned project focusing on the adaptive reuse of a former office/commercial building into a freestanding emergency center. From there, they took a bus to tour the project site, the former Intercontinental Motors building and then went to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, where they had dedicated space to work all weekend. They presented their design ideas to conference attendees Sunday afternoon.
Rick Burnight, AIA, ACHA, president/CEO of O’Connell Robertson, and Walter Marks, AIA, the firm’s healthcare director in San Antonio and the local liaison for the challenge, were among the industry advisors supporting the teams throughout the weekend. As the host firm, O’Connell Robertson also provided support for producing the team’s presentation boards.
“We are excited to support this program that helps develop the next generation of healthcare architects and planners,” says Burnight. “O’Connell Robertson is committed to helping students prepare for a career in the A/E/C industry, and was the only Texas firm to be recognized in 2014 with a national Intern Development Program Firm Award for our demonstrated commitment to helping interns earn licensure.”
More than 3,200 senior leaders from hospitals, design firms and construction companies are expected to attend the PDC Summit at the Convention Center, a collaboration of the American College of Healthcare Architects, AIA Academy of Architecture for Health, ASHE, the American Hospital Association and Facility Guidelines Institute.