School Design

School Design: Learning occurs beyond classrooms

Clients Say

We welcomed over 2,500 guests to watch our 261 students celebrate their graduation. Needless to say, the fieldhouse was a hit, and everyone loved it. This will be a highlight for us for years to come.

Steven Shantz
Supervisor of
Buildings & Grounds
Milton School District

Thank you for making the design and build process enjoyable. Your work with our team and CG Schmidt helped us receive a very high rate of return for every dollar invested in our project. Truly professionals.

Mary Whitrock
Ripon Area School District

Designing schools to improve education motivates us every day. We believe that education forms the core of our communities and serves as the bedrock of our society, particularly in the context of K12 education. Helping schools to provide learning spaces that engage and support educators, students, and families is fundamental to our mission as an educational design studio.  As school architects, educational planners, and interior designers with decades of commitment to helping educators, we feel a unique responsibility to help improve not only learning environments but also the educational design process itself. All in the service of a greater good, with the hopes it increases opportunities for students and communities, alike.  

School Design Engages the Community

Strong schools spring from an involved community. We guide our school design process from the initial spark to project completion by listening, embracing, and reflecting on the unique character of each community and each school.  We have developed an innovative Design Toolbox comprised of techniques rooted in participatory learning, such as day-in-the-life shadowing, guided school tours, lessons-learned seminars, student and staff photo journaling, aesthetic, and amenity visioning sessions, interactive puzzle play, and community workshops about k12 educational design.  

Only after unlocking the particular needs, experiences, and opportunities can we apply the ideas of our dedicated school architects or interior designers, and begin creating possible solutions.  A successive layer of detail is added at each meeting, revealing new aspects of the concept with state-of-the-art visualization tools, rapid prototyping, and material samples helping to convey exactly the proposed learning community we are developing together.

Through this process, we might help you create a new elementary school, update or add to an existing administration facility, or we may design an auditorium or fieldhouse with you. Each project may involve any of our individual K12 education specialists to integrate environmental graphics and branding, furniture, and accessories, or help you achieve sustainability or wellness goals. We can also apply our experience to numerous other needs you may have such as facility assessments, learning assessments, master planning, community engagement, and referendum assistance. We support the full range of school facilities design, architecture, and engineering services required by school districts.


All of these services are led by the four Partners, each a leader in the design of K12 education environments: Steve Kieckhafer (Madison), Nicholas Kent (Milwaukee), Devin Kack (Milwaukee), and John Holz (Sarasota).  Each provides an unbridled commitment to learning environments, supplemented by a diverse and growing team of dedicated school architects, educational planners, and education advisors including prior superintendent Melissa Thompson.  Together, they see every learning community as an opportunity to strengthen society and provide for a better tomorrow.

We invite you to follow the links on this page to learn more about our experience helping transform learning environments nationwide, or better yet, contact Steve, Nicholas, Devin, John, or Melissa to learn more about how we may work with you to make a difference in your community.