President’s Message – May, 2019

This past weekend it finally felt like spring has arrived. And looking at the calendar, summer is right around the corner. I know summer is close though because my kids are starting to talk wistfully of camp and summer plans. I was fully intending to write about summer to-do-lists, but the news of the past few weeks makes it hard for me to focus on the promise of summer. Two more tragic school shootings, one at a university, and one at a high school, have once again forced us to confront the reality that our children are growing up in a much different world than we did. Despite the emotional outpourings, the divisive issues of gun control and access to mental health treatment seem to keep us in a perpetual state of policy gridlock. I often feel helpless to affect any change whatsoever on the topic.

AIA is once again stepping up to confront pressing issues and provide a consensus-building path that not only improves the condition of schools but also provides a rallying point for communication and agreement on meaningful action. The goal, of course, is to provide design-based solutions that improve the safety of students and teachers, but still maintain a positive and nurturing environment for kids to learn and grow. The AIA is pressing for legislation mandating that the federal government build a database of best practices regarding safe school design and proposing that federal dollars be allocated for design services that will improve school safety.  If you or your firm designs schools, please familiarize yourself with best practices and the many new and innovative products out there. If school design is not in your portfolio, you can still have an impact by supporting The AIA as we push this agenda at the national level. Review the background information and talking points from Grassroots’19 then write or call your elected officials, tell them how important this issue is and stay up to date with what The AIA is doing.

This policy is one of a handful of critical issues that will be at the forefront of what AIA advances over the next year and will certainly be a topic of conversation at the AIA Conference, A’19, in Las Vegas. If you’re headed out there in early June, please come find me at the Maryland Meetup at the Eastside Lounge in the Wynn Hotel on Friday, June 7th from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm and let me know your thoughts on your priorities and what The AIA can do for you.

I always want to hear from you, regardless of the season!