Universities turn to designers on how to reopen campus safely due to COVID-19 pandemic

Building designers are being recruited to help universities open their campuses safely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CannonDesign's efforts in Texas were highlighted.

By CannonDesign June 17, 2020

Colleges and universities have unique decisions ahead of them as they look to return to campus this fall as the country tries to move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic. NBC5 in Dallas recently interviewed Don Hensley, the director of Texas Education Strategy for CannonDesign, on how these institutions are turning to design firms for guidance. In the video and web story, Hensley shared numerous insights around how higher education can work to implement physical distancing standards, utilize outdoor spaces on campus, and even use temporary and modular units.

“You’ll see occupancy changes just like you’re seeing in restaurants, where there will be fewer students in a classroom,” Hensley said in the piece. Later he added, “There are institutions talking about how they can enhance their landscaped outdoor environments in a more efficient and effective way to allow people to be present (on campus this fall).”

Hensley also offers that many colleges and universities are considering: “What would a pop-up outside a classroom look like? How do you move it, tear it down? How permanent should it be, what is it made of? How many people can it accommodate? These are the ideas being discussed.”

Hensley’s insight stems from ongoing discussions our Education practice is having with higher ed and K-12 institutions across the country about returning to school this fall. While there are numerous unknowns, it is clear each school requires a customized approach when it comes to housing students, academic life, campus wayfinding and much more.

This article originally appeared on CannonDesign’s website. CannonDesign is a CFE Media content partner.