Late December 2016 brought James Hanis, NCARB certified architect, to North Carolina to visit friends in Asheville and Murphy who had relocated from Florida several years before. As shared by the architect, "the drive through the Appalachian Mountains began to greatly impact one's scenes as 'a New World experience'... open to an extraordinary abstract landscape of moving cinema-graphic images."
Later in the day, Brian Rourke, longtime friend of James, proudly engaged his guest in a tour of the town of Murphy which included a stop at his grandson's school, The Learning Center Charter School. As the grandfather spoke proudly of his grandson's learning experience, the keen eyes of the visiting architect took in a campus of traditional, prefabricated modular classrooms in need of replacement. I would discover soon that questions and a vision began to surface in James Hanis' mind that would not be quietened.
By the next day, I found myself meeting the visiting architect on our school campus. Our walk-about quickly filled with passionate talk about our students, their inquiring minds, educators as skilled mentors, the quality of education and leading inspirational programs offered in spite of endless budget constraints, and what I had long recognized as my unstoppable vision "to Breathe New Life into the Center."
The architect listened, then asked his questions powerfully. "Would you like to have a new school?" I could not answer quickly enough that of course I wanted a new school, but added, "We do not have the funding."
James Hanis stayed on course as he let me know that he had already made some inquiries and well understood our financial challenges. He then added his second question. "If money were no issue, how would you do school differently?"
The next two years would be spent in "a series of inquiries and collective conversations that captured the imaginations of both architect and educator.
"My belief is the fact that architects have the responsibility to create not only for the moment,
but for future generations." James Hanis, NCARB, RA
Please, follow the developing weekly story of PROJECT BLU SKY, a tale of two visions. Both capture ideas that do not yet exist in education and both create a new world in changing reality through Education:
BLU SKY OBSERVATORY Facility Replacement Project
BLU SKY INITIATIVE to Right the Future FOR Education.