Kansas City, MO. –The Hollis + Miller team is thrilled to gift yet another metropolitan area school district with an outdoor learning environment, this year in the Park Hill School District. The recipient of our 2021 Learnscape initiative is the Russell Jones Education Center, a therapeutic learning environment for students with special needs from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Learnscape is Hollis + Miller Architect’s annual philanthropic effort to design and build an outdoor classroom for a Kansas City metro-area school district. Each specialized learning environment provides students with a safe, outdoor space to call their own, where they are free to explore and experience nature.
“We are so grateful for this opportunity to give our students a chance to learn and develop in a natural environment,” Park Hill Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd said. “It will be especially beneficial at the Jones Center, which serves students from all across our district.”
The team of Emerging Professionals at Hollis + Miller will take the reins on leading design of the outdoor classroom, set to be complete later this summer. HMA employees will designate several build days where the entire office will dig in and set to work building the new learning environment, all hands on deck. The Learnscape program began in 2013 as an opportunity for Hollis + Miller to combine its expertise as an architecture firm dedicated to designing innovative learning environments and its passion for the community in a way that can make a difference. Previously, the firm has designed and built outdoor classrooms for the Olathe, Blue Springs, North Kansas City, Shawnee Mission, Grain Valley, Raytown and Liberty school districts.
“We are so excited to partner with the Park Hill School District in bringing to life a Learnscape that will impact so many of their learners,” Client Leader Kevin Nelson said. “Integrating curriculum into outdoor learning methods gives brains a break from the daily stressors and has a positive impact on students’ social skills, health and behaviors.”
Last year, the HMA team and donors spent over 4,000 hours bringing Learnscape to life through design, fundraising and construction. Direct collaboration with students, staff and community members led to an outstanding outdoor classroom setting, and we are looking forward to continuing this collaboration process with the Park Hill community in 2021.