Director of Architecture invited to deliver national webinar presentation
January 12, 2018Following the delivery of a featured presentation in October during LearningSCAPES, a national design conference hosted by the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), Wightman & Associates Director of Architecture Gregory Monberg and his co-presenters have been invited to deliver that presentation to even wider audience through an upcoming webinar on January 11.
The session entitled Beyond Design Project Zero (DP0): How Design Thinking Can Jump Start the Creative Process in Planning for Innovative Learning Environments demonstrates how design thinking has been successfully applied to learning environments by both educators and learning environment planners. Monberg will be joined by Paul Hartsig, superintendent of Dowagiac Union Schools, Dowagiac, Mich., and J. Scott Winchester, AIA, Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering, Kalamazoo, Mich.
“The Association for Learning Environments typically invites only the top-rated presentations from the annual conference to be delivered as a webinar,” stated Monberg. “We are honored and pleased to share this information with an even more extensive groups of professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada.”
Design thinking is a systematic, human-centered approach to problem solving that draws on empathy and experimentation to address the needs of end-users. In doing so, innovative solutions are developed based on what users want and need to be successful instead of relying only on historical data or making decisions based on instinct instead of evidence.
The interactive session examines several case studies where design thinking has been applied. Monberg, Hartsig, and Winchester will share their experiences from the planning process used for the Dowagiac Union High School renovation and gymnasium addition currently under construction. Other illustrative projects include the Next Generation Science Lab and a middle school media center, both located in Illinois and for which Monberg led the planning process.
About the presenters
During his 25-year career, Monberg has focused on the planning and design of innovative learning environment across the country. Earning recognition for his dedication to improving places for learning, he was awarded the distinguished service from the Midwest/Great Lakes Region of the Association for Learning Environments in 2014. He is the Midwest/Great Lakes region representative for the Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP) Commission and governor of the Indiana/Michigan area.
Paul Hartsig has spent the last 24 years as an educator in Michigan. He has served students as a math and science teacher for 11 years, high school principal for 10 years, and superintendent for the past three years. He has recently used the Design Thinking process to plan for renovations to Dowagiac Union High School funded by a $37 million bond passed by district voters in 2015.
Scott Winchester has been involved in K-12 educational design for over 30 years. His experience ranges from bond issue assistance to programming, design, and construction. He is the lead architect for the Transformation of Dowagiac Union High School where Design Thinking has been implemented to powerful effect.
About Association for Learning Environments
Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) is the primary advocate and resource for effective educational facilities. It serves those who use, plan, design, construct, maintain, equip and operate educational facilities.
Wightman named 2017 Wonderful Workplace
November 20, 2017Wightman & Associates, Inc. has been selected by 269 MAGAZINE as one of Southwest Michigan’s Wonderful Workplaces. This award celebrates the outstanding efforts made by local businesses in the region to make their organizations great places to work. Winners are recognized in the November/December 2017 issue of 269 MAGAZINE.
“Having a highly engaged and productive workforce is about understanding that people who work in an amazing environment are going to do incredible things. As leaders, it’s our job to make sure that can happen,” said Ron Kitchens, publisher of 269 MAGAZINE.
Winning companies empower their workers while emphasizing overall wellness. The 269 Wonderful Workplace Awards honor the hard work local organizations have done to carefully construct their cultures to reflect core values, support thriving communities and allow employees to soar.
About 269 MAGAZINE™
269 MAGAZINE is a regional publication communicating the distinctive brand that is Southwest Michigan. It aims to inspire its readers to become active participants in the world around them and join its mission to make Southwest Michigan the place to enjoy as home, to work, and bring dreams to reality. Learn more at www.269mag.com.
To learn more and read the piece featuring Wightman, please click here.
Presenting at National Education Design Conference
October 23, 2017Wightman & Associates Director of Architecture Gregory Monberg will be a featured presenter this month at LearningSCAPES, the annual international design conference hosted by the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), the largest organization in the world whose sole mission is improving the places where people learn.
Monberg is scheduled to present during two separate sessions. On October 28, he will be joined by Paul Hartsig, superintendent of Dowagiac Union Schools, Dowagiac, Mich., and J. Scott Winchester, AIA, Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering, Kalamazoo, Mich., for a session entitled Beyond Design Project Zero (DP0): How Design Thinking Can Jump Start the Creative Process in Planning for Innovative Learning Environments.
Design thinking is a systematic, human-centered approach to problem solving that draws on empathy and experimentation to address the needs of end-users. In doing so, innovation solutions are developed based on what users want and need to be successful instead of relying only on historical data or making decisions based on instinct instead of evidence.
The interactive session will examine several case studies where design thinking has been applied. Monberg, Hartsig, and Winchester will share their experiences from the planning process used for the Dowagiac Union High School renovation and gymnasium addition currently under construction. Other illustrative projects will include the Next Generation Science Labs and a middle school media center, both located in Illinois and for which Monberg led the planning process.
“We will show how design thinking has been successfully applied to learning environments by both educators and learning environment planners,” Monberg stated. “Participants will walk away with a better understanding of the benefits design thinking provides when creating learning environments, as well as how to integrate the process into their workflows.”
On October 27th, Monberg joins a panel discussion centered on A4LE’s Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP) designation and the core competencies which it represents. The panel will explain the process of accreditation and renewal, as well as outline the skills and knowledge one must demonstrate to earn the accreditation. Monberg serves on the ALEP Commission responsible for governing the credential that is the most comprehensive professional program in the educational facility planning industry.
In addition to serving as an ALEP commissioner, Monberg is the A4LE’s Area 3 Governor for the Midwest Great Lakes Region. In 2014 he was honored with the Outstanding Service Award by the organization.
Monberg joined Wightman & Associates earlier this year. Previously, he worked for the Oakbrook, Illinois-based office of Fanning Howey where he built a 22-year architecture, planning, and design career. He is a licensed architect in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois, an Accredited Learning Environment Planner, and a LEED Accredited Professional. In addition to his extensive background in K-12 facility design and planning, Monberg has led projects in the higher education market and with municipalities. His ideas and designs have been featured in national publications such as School Planning & Management, as well as at multiple national and international conferences.
About LearningSCAPES 2017 & the Association for Learning Environments
LearningSCAPES 2017 is being held October 26-28 in Atlanta, Georgia. It is hosted by the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), the primary advocate and resource for effective educational facilities. The conference brings together professionals from across the globe including the United States, Australia and Canada who plan, design, equip, furnish, and maintain places where students learn, and offers educational sessions, keynotes, and a showcase of state-of-the-art tools that move learning forward.
WAI Announce Kalamazoo Location
October 6, 2017Wightman & Associates, Inc.(WAI) formally announced plans to relocate from their current location at 9835 Portage Road in Portage, Michigan to 433 E. Ransom in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The project comprises complete renovation of the former One-Way Products building for the firm’s future location. When finished, the property will allow WAI to continue recent expansion of staff, and of the range of services it provides to businesses and municipalities in the Kalamazoo region.
“We are very pleased to be announcing this growth in the Kalamazoo region. Our team of professional is really looking forward to having a presence in downtown Kalamazoo. This larger location is a critical component of Wightman & Associates’ strategic commitment to the Kalamazoo region,” stated WAI President Matt Davis. “By investing in our facilities and providing our employees with an environment where they can do their best work, they, in turn, can focus their talents and problem solving skills on helping our clients achieve their goals.”
The company’s current 3,700 square-foot office location at 9835 Portage Road in Portage is beyond capacity for the staff of over 30 engineering, architecture, GIS and survey professionals based there. It also lacks client meeting space and adequate storage for equipment and work vehicles.
“We outgrew our office some time ago, so the entire team is glad to see this project underway,” stated Alan Smaka, director of WAI’s Portage office. “Not only will our new location create a welcoming and comfortable environment for our staff and clients, it gives us the ability to hire additional team members and expand our service offerings in the Kalamazoo region.”
“Beyond the ability to expand our permanent team of professionals based in Kalamazoo, the new site will give us the flexibility to have staff from our Allegan and Benton Harbor offices work from touch down office stations to provide better collaboration and a wider range of services to our customers,“ Smaka added.
When renovation work is complete, the 433 E. Ransom Street building WAI purchased will provide 14,000 finished square feet, more than tripling the current office space out of which the Portage/Kalamazoo staff operates. Other planned improvements to the property include a new exterior insulated ‘skin’ patio/greenspace and use of the existing 2-story warehouse for vehicle storage and onsite environmental testing services. Continued growth of the Kalamazoo staff and services will be accommodated with future phases of construction, making use of the high-ceiling warehouse space with the addition of a floor structure, providing 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of additional office space. The estimate project total is $3.35 million.
“We looked at more than a dozen properties in the Kalamazoo area. This site provided the space we needed to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced and gives us plenty of room to continue growing as we serve the community,” stated Davis.
WAI’s Architecture Studio created the interior and exterior design plan for the new facility. They met with the Kalamazoo team to find out what they needed and wanted in the new workspace to most effectively serve clients and to be comfortable in their environment.
The 1937 original structure’s structural glazed tile walls, wood beams and ceiling, and steel columns will be exposed in the open-office areas, and large storefront window openings, previously filled with concrete masonry, will be restored to provide natural light and ‘open’ the company’s presence to the community.
The first construction phase of the Kalamazoo office will support 40+ workstations, and will include 3 collaboration areas for staff groups to meet away from their individual open-office work areas. Small, medium and large conference areas with varying furniture types will expand current opportunities. Small, quiet focus rooms for nose-to-the-grindstone work, or just to make a private phone call, will be located throughout the open-office environment. A larger Break Room with outdoor patio will provide another, different opportunity to vary types of work areas available to staff.
Other features will include touch down work areas for staff from other WAI offices, a full breakroom with kitchen appliances and eating area, and a shaded outdoor seating area.
“This project is a great example of how the team of problem solvers at Wightman work together on projects to make it easy for our clients. In addition to the services provided by our Architecture Studio, project support and assistance was provided by our civil engineering department, survey department and landscape architecture team. The entire WAI team is looking forward to the future location which truly showcases the talent of our team,” shared Smaka.
The first phase of work was partial demolition of previous finishes, exposing structural and substrate elements that were obscured, providing the design team with clarity for final detail development. Construction is expected to be complete in August 2018. At that time, WAI will move its operations to the new facility.