Focused on School Structures

The Robertson Life Science Building & Skourtes Tower at Oregon Health Sciences University is a stop on one of the four school-facility tours during EDspaces. Photo courtesy

For the first time in its history, EDspaces will be held in the Pacific Northwest, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Emerald Exhibitions and the Education Market Association invite architects and designers, school administrators, dealers and distributors, independent reps, consultants, and suppliers to attend the event being held from Tuesday, November 1, through Friday, November 4.

To make sure attendees refresh their thinking, recharge their batteries, and then return to work to meet the challenges of the next generation of students, EDspaces offers best-in-class educational opportunities, knowledge experts, onsite school tours and exciting products. Here are just a few of the highlights.


The Educational Distribution Symposium

During this half-day preconference on November 1, distributors, independent reps, and manufacturers will gather to discuss the challenges of increasing sales and profitability in a hypercompetitive business landscape. The symposium includes four parts.


  1. “THRIVE: Turn Uncertainty into Your Greatest Competitive Advantage”

The keynote presented by Meridith Elliott Powell, a leading expert on business growth, will provide innovative strategies for redefining disruption, techniques for predicting changes in the marketplace, and ways to build longevity and success in highly volatile times.


  1. Small-group discussion

Groups will work with members of the EDmarket Distribution Council to develop personal strategies for staying laser focused and flexible.


  1. “Challenges & Opportunities in the Education Market”

A panel of industry leaders will discuss the importance of initiating and maintaining relationships, addressing customer pain points, and positioning yourself as a key resource in the buying journey.


  1. Networking Reception


Education sessions: themes of healthy schools, student wellness, and safety

Sixty certified educational sessions will cover a wide variety of topics, from tech (“Creating NextGen Career & Technical Education Initiatives,” and the case study “A Bold Metaverse Vision, Chery Creek 2.0” to name a few) to design (“Why the Furniture in Your School will Never be the Same” and “Student-Focused Design to Inspire Personal Achievement,” for example). The sessions qualify for Learning Units and Health, Safety and Wellness Units from both the American Institute of Architects and the Interior Design Educators Council; and credits from Green Business Certification Inc.

Given the health concerns of the past few years – both physical and emotional – and the continued need for protection against random acts of violence, several sessions discuss the meaning of “healthy classrooms,” student wellness and safety. “Healthy Schools by Design” on Wednesday morning, for instance, will take participants through existing research that connects healthy, high-performance learning environments to improved learning outcomes and student success.

Later, the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) presents “Healthy School Design Elements and Maintenance Practices” covering the results of studies conducted by the University of California, Davis; the California Air Resources Board; and the University of Oregon.

On Thursday morning, the discussion “Best Practices for Safer Schools,” sponsored by Campus Safety Magazine, features a panel of facilities, campus police, and design & security professionals who will offer safety considerations and suggested tools for emergency readiness.

“Building Out a Centralized Safety, Security & Emergency Preparedness Division,” scheduled later, will cover the milestones, deliverables and lessons learned from creating an emergency preparedness division for the sixth-largest public-school district in the nation.


Alan Ricks presents the keynote

An architect rock star, Alan is a founding principal and the chief design officer of MASS Design Group, a nonprofit that designs buildings intended to improve lives in more than 12 countries in Africa and the Americas, especially in resource-limited areas. “By collaborating with the communities their buildings will serve, and looking at each project as a long-term investment in people and environments, MASS (Model of Architecture Serving Society) creates spaces that are not only beautiful and affordable but also truly beneficial,” writes Mikenna Pierotti, in Green HVACR magazine.

Alan’s plenary session at EDspaces, “Reinvention by Design,” will lead participants through the innovative MASS process and its guiding strategy of One Health – a purposeful philosophy of practice that can inspire everyone to see what’s possible for the future.

In his interview with Green HVACR, Alan described MASS’s mission. “We are focused on having an impact on health, education, and issues of peace and justice. We are leveraging how the building process itself can be curated to expand that impact. In our design and in our advocacy, we are constantly thinking and talking about making decisions that have positive impacts on the economics, environments, and people actually involved in the project. Ultimately, we are investing in the dignity of the communities we serve.


Innovative school furniture products

More than 130 exhibitors will present vibrant, innovative, personalized solutions to address the design needs of the built environment. Exhibit hours are on Wednesday and Thursday, November 2 and 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Friday, November 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.

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