Benson Polytechnic High School Alumni Association

Design Center Advisory Group gets ready for PPS pre-design process

It was slightly over a year ago that the Benson Tech Site Council granted approval to the BPHSAA to form a Design Center Advisory Group. The purpose of this group would be to help inform the creation of a comprehensive design center to be located at Benson Tech as part of the projected school-wide modernization. This new design center would touch on a wide range of design-oriented careers such as architecture, urban design, sustainability, engineering, product design, interiors, and even fashion design.

This advisory group, along with the health occupation, manufacturing, transportation and other advisory groups, can play a crucial role in informing the district pre-design process in shaping a new curriculum and conceptual design for Benson Tech. Working with teachers, students, parents and administrators, these groups can provide real-life input to help create an educational platform that more directly meets the needs of today’s rapidly changing world of work.

Portland and Oregon enjoys a world-wide reputation for design excellence at a number of levels. From architecture and urban design, to sustainability and engineering excellence, to product and fashion design, the entire region stands out as a world leader. They are also blessed with excellent institutions of higher education in design and a robust community of design professionals. The only thing lacking is a first-class educational system that introduces middle school and high school students to the magical world of design. The goal of the Design Center Group is to change that at Benson Tech.

The Design Center Advisory Group has been on a monthly basis and contains educators from higher education, architects, engineers, planners, contractors, and product designers. We are excited about the idea’s potential and the impact it can have on inspiring students. It can open doors to higher education opportunities and a wealth of career choices.

Part of the group’s work has been to look to other parts of the country for examples of this idea. One that stands out is the Baltimore Design School in Maryland. It is a comprehensive design-focused public school that serves the entire district of Baltimore for grades 6-12. The 6-12 idea is also something that the advisory group feels is worth looking at for Benson Tech as there appears to be great value in exposing students to CTE experiences earlier than 9th grade.

We look forward to the Design Center Advisory Group playing a significant role in assisting the district as it moves through the Benson pre-design process.

This article appears in our February 2015 newsletter (pdf)

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