For the first time in over 20 years, a K-12 facility from the Southeastern U.S. has been named the national James D. MacConnell Award winner by the Council of Education Facility Planners International (CEFPI). Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School of Greenville County School District in Greenville, SC, was recognized with the prestigious national award during the CEFPI Annual Conference in San Diego, California on October 25, 2015. Representatives from the school district and from architectural firm McMillan Pazdan Smith were present to receive the honor.
Named for one of the most renowned school facility planners of the 20th century, the MacConnell Award is focused on the comprehensive planning process, including both the educational specifications and programs requirements as well as the actual architectural design. The prestigious award is CEFPI’s highest recognition of excellence in educational facilities that serve the community and enhance education. The school was chosen from among four finalists by a jury of international architectural experts after a rigorous submittal and interview process.
Completed in 2013, Greenville County School’s first STEAM middle school is located on 27 acres adjacent to Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). The three-story, 179,000 square-foot school serves 1,000 Greenville County middle school students through small learning communities, a research-based curriculum and team teaching in flexible and adaptable spaces. By partnering closely with the District from initial planning through completion, the design team of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture and Fielding Nair International, a global educational planning expert and co-architect, were able to design a variety of indoor and outdoor learning spaces that demonstrate specific applications of math, science and engineering to students. The school officially opened its doors to students in August 2014.
Dr. Phinnize J. Fisher Middle School also received a statewide Honor Award at CEFPI’s South Carolina Chapter conference this March, marking McMillan Pazdan Smith’s 17th state-level CEFPI award in the past decade. This is the firm’s first project to be selected as a finalist and winner for CEFPI’s national-level James D. MacConnell Award.
Greenville County Schools is South Carolina’s largest school district and the nation’s 44th largest school district with 76,000 students.