Elementary Outreach—Inspiring the Next Generation of Architects

LSU School of Architecture students and faculty visited Park Elementary in Baton Rouge to help students generate ideas and build models for a new school.

Park Elementary, which follows a Project Base Learning model, is slated to get brand new facilities in the next few years, and administrators are fully engaging students in the building process. Each grade level is participating in a different project to envision the new school—some are working on classrooms, some on the cafeteria and athletic fields, and others are working on the playground.

In early October, Professor Jori Erdman and Professional in Residence William Doran of the LSU School of Architecture led a question and answer session with some of the older students about what it means to be an architect, and Park Elementary students built a giant model of the school inside their gymnasium. Members of LSU’s chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, including NOMAS president Jack Burleigh and member Jorge Galdamez, volunteered to spend the day advising and assisting the elementary students in generating ideas and modeling the different components of their new school. The Baton Rouge chapter of the American Institute of Architects donated model-making materials and helped organize the event.

“Professors Doran and Erdman shared some of the perks of the architecture profession, making real-life connections that the students could relate to,” commented Stephanie Tate, principal of Park Elementary. “The students were thrilled to have actual architecture students assisting them on build day. Park Elementary students are considering college now that they’ve had this interaction with LSU students. Partnerships grow leaders!”