Last year the Blue Valley School District of Overland Park, Kansas, had a problem: Its new Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) building wouldn’t be finished for a year and a half. While the district, high school students, and teachers didn’t want to delay the launch of the new program, they didn’t have the money required to lease, remodel, and equip a temporary space. “So, we came up with the idea of companies gifting us the funds we needed to rent,” says CAPS executive director Donna Deeds.
When the district met at the DLR Group’s offices in Overland Park, the architecture firm’s senior principal Jim French, AIA, had a better idea. “I said, ‘Forget cash.’ How about having them move a class right into this conference room?’ And, that’s how a high school electronics lab ended up in our offices.” During the 2009-10 school year, a total of 32 students have taken half-day classes there, learning how to design and build their own analog and digital circuits.