Creating District Wide Furniture Standards with Flexible Learning and Collaboration as the Guiding Principles

AIA Continuing Education Provider

1 LU / HSW

In this presentation, we will drive into the world of furniture standards. This presentation will highlight Norman Public School’s collaborative District Wide Building Standards endeavor, specifically focusing on furniture standardization efforts at the PK, Elementary, Middle and High School levels. In 2019, the district passed a $186 million bond referendum with specific funds allocated to furniture for classrooms, offices, media centers, etc. The attendees will learn the dos and don'ts of creating furniture standards and how to keep the client happy long after the standards have been set.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Gain insights into the processes and benefits of creating a District Wide Standards Manual.
  2. Discuss how to select furniture that creates flexible and collaborative learning environments.
  3. Learn how to involve students, teachers and administration in the process.
  4. Post evaluation and service. How to take care of the school district long after standards have been established?
Gary Armbruster
Gary Armbruster, AIA, ALEP
Principal Architect and Owner, MA+ Architecture,

Gary is a Principal Architect/Partner for MA+ Architecture in Oklahoma City. Gary is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and holds a Certificate in Educational Facility Planning. Gary is the Education Studio Director and is responsible for programming/design for all education projects. An Accredited Learning Environment Planner through the Association for Learning Environments, he is one of only four ALEPs in Oklahoma. He speaks nationally on education design related issues and topics and most recently spoke at the AIA National Convention in New York City in 2018.

Andrea Durbin
Andrea Durbin
Director of Interior Design, MA+ Architecture,

Andrea specializes in furniture design and specifications and has over 16 years of experience in the interior design field. She has received her NCIDQ and is a Registered Commercial Interior Designer. Andrea has been honored to participate in several leadership classes and has been the recipient of the Journal Record's Achievers Under 40 Award in 2020. Currently serving on Board of Directors for multiple organizations, Andrea is an active member of her community. In June of 2022, Andrea completed her Advanced Academy courses to become an Accredited Learning Environment Planner.

Natalie Eckert
Natalie Eckert
Project Manager, Operational Services, Assistant to the Associate, Superintendent/COO, Norman Public Schools,

Natalie has served students in Norman Public Schools for 17 years. As Operations Project Manager, Natalie plays a critical role in providing oversight for the district’s furniture projects related to school bond issues. Additionally, she oversees the implementation of many districtwide projects related to facilities management, transportation, technology, asset management and more. Natalie’s work to streamline school facility rentals has resulted in an $87,000 increase in revenue for the district in the past three years alone. She is a Certified Associate in Project Management and a member of the Project Management Institute.

Track: The Experience of Place

The built and natural environments have profound impacts on our behaviors both for better and worse. How do we cultivate a sense of place for better? How might the built and natural environments be made to enhance teaching and learning? How might school buildings and grounds foster a sense of community by reflecting those they serve?

Primary Core Competency
Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

Learning Units/Health, Safety, Welfare (LU/HSW)
Furnishing a school district with appropriate furniture and maintaining those furnishings promotes a safe environment for both students and staff. We will also look at addressing how furniture can effect the overall health of the student or faculty member, by addressing ergonomics as well as mental health. 

learningSCAPES 2022

October 5-9
Marriott Rivercenter | San Antonio, TX

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