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DoDEA School’s 21st Century Design Honored with Citation for Excellence

For Immediate Release — December 3, 2013 | HQ
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ARLINGTON, VA — December 3, 2013 — ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) received the 2013 Citation of Excellence Award for its innovative Kaiserslautern High School Design.

Learning by Design, a bi-annual magazine that showcases educational architecture and engineering projects, sponsored the Citation of Excellence award. Kaiserslautern High School’s design was honored because it pushes the envelope of forward thinking in education.

The other two award recipients were Western Michigan University for their Sangren Hall submission and Ferris State University, for Kendall College of Art and Design.

Kaiserslautern High School’s 21st Century design, divided into sections called neighborhoods, incorporates indoor and outdoor learning to encourage students to use the building as a living classroom. Some of the innovative developments are a global resource center that acts as a touch-screen, technology hub; an activity commons area for social and collaborative interaction; and exterior classrooms equipped with wetlands and community gardens.


Kaiserslautern High School’s new building design separates into neighborhoods that foster learning that occurs “any time, any place, any path.”

Architecture firm, SchenkelShultz, one of several teams that worked to make this project possible, submitted the design. “Clients like DoDEA are trying to push innovative designs and need recognition for that,” said David Torbert, Partner. “They are creating a flexible educational environment.”

Construction of the new high school is estimated to take three years. Once construction begins, the new building will be on the Kaiserslautern Military Installation in Germany, 200 feet from the current high school that will be demolished once the new school is operational.

Faculty, staff and students were consulted about the design. The two story high school with its flexible furniture and studios offers a variety of work environments to satisfy the diverse learning styles of students.


The design for the new Kaiserslautern High School creates a building that is as a teaching tool with varied outdoor learning centers that extend the academic neighborhoods.

“Any school design is a team effort,” said Mike Smiley, DoDEA Chief of Facilities. “There were so many groups that helped. We contract for designs and provide specifications to maximize teaching facilities and to use the building as a teaching tool.”

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages pre-kindergarten – 12th grade education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA schools are located in Europe, the Pacific, the United States, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. DoDEA also provides support and resources to Local Education Activities throughout the U.S. that serve children of military families.

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