Clark Patterson Lee | Blog Clark Patterson Lee Blog en Copyright 2022 2022-08-17T04:20:09-04:00 <![CDATA[BLOG: Raising the Bar Together ― The Benefits of Engaging with the Competition to Advance Design]]> I have always believed that good business begets good business. When we look to our competition for inspiration, we elevate our own design, and sequentially, develop more dynamic spaces for end users.

In the past several months, I’ve had the opportunity to go on school tours in Washington D.C. and Central New York as a member of and incoming New York State Chapter President of the A4LE (Association for Learning Environments). Through this organization, the K-12 education design community has one common goal: to lead innovation at the intersection of learning and place, and in which, the place is a catalyst for inspired learning. The A4LE looks to its members to elevate professional standards, enhance individual performance and identify those in the educational environment industry who demonstrate the core competencies essential to the practice of planning, designing, equipping and maintaining educational environments.

Accounting for School Values Through Design

While in Washington D.C. at the Northeast Regional conference this past April, I toured Sandy Springs School, a private Quaker School in Maryland.

Exterior of Sandy Springs School. Design firm: Stantec.Exterior of Sandy Springs School. Design firm: Stantec.

Guided by the project’s lead Architecture/Engineer (A/E) team and the school’s Director, we were welcomed to this new building, which recently received Well AP Silver certification due to its net-zero ready infrastructure, solar panel field, on-site composting and geothermal heating. The school’s architects and designers graciously explained their eight-year-long process, working with the support of key stakeholders to embrace the following Quaker values through design.

Belief that the truth is continually revealed.

Belief in seeking peace with oneself and others.

Belief in accepting and respecting each individual's uniqueness.

Belief in the spirituality of life.

Belief in the value of simplicity.

Belief in the power of silence.

To support these values, their team worked to outfit the building with sustainable materials like linoleum flooring, reclaimed wood from the surrounding area and mineral wool insulation. Additionally, daylighting controls were designed through the application of custom sunshades and fins on the exterior, which were positioned to allow for the use of sunlight when it’s needed and deflect its power when it’s not.

Environmentally focused design elements were also integrated to create a building that is both thermally balanced for controlled heat and acoustically balanced for audibility and noise reduction. Total use of the building’s space was considered with the integration of breakout zones hugging the circulation areas, which permits individualized learning opportunities.

Furthermore, local artists provided sculptures for the soaring, open space within the interior, two-story volume as well as for the zen garden behind the building. The natural and simplistic beauty of the school’s design evokes a calming yet focused atmosphere for students and administrators.

Engaging with a School’s Community

On another school tour, we were led through a new addition at the Vernon Verona Sherrill Middle School, located in Verona, New York. Here, the school’s architect and Assistant Principal walked us through their intricate processes for community engagement. Working with key stakeholders, students, administrators and the community, they discovered that the school was most in need of a dedicated space to support learning goals more closely aligned to 21st-century workforce demands.

Interior space in Vernon Verona Sherrill Middle School. Design firm: King + King.Interior space in Vernon Verona Sherrill Middle School. Design firm: King + King.

This resulted in a large, multi-functional Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) wing that bolsters the existing curriculum, inspires administrators to use innovative education practices and is also available for use by the school’s community. Primary design choices revolved around cross-disciplinary and project-based learning, which was achieved by the incorporation of a myriad of writable surfaces, flexible furniture selections, portable modular walls and the use of tasteful school branding elements.

Engaging design practices were also found in both the interior and exterior of the school. The surrounding patios and green spaces are now used by educators for diverse outdoor learning activities like drone flying and experimentation, and the interior lab and its four adjacent classrooms are utilized for after-school activities, community board meetings and local club gatherings.

Exploring Spaces Leads to Collaboration

The opportunity to observe these spaces and speak openly with colleagues in our industry leads to deeper dialogues about why we do what we do. Together, we acknowledge that by approaching K-12 design with a common purpose of creating safe, healthy and appropriately stimulating learning environments, we are not “competition” but “co-collaborators” working towards a unified, educational goal.

Understanding these principles of practice and seeing them exhibited firsthand has broadened my knowledge of how to create more resourceful learning environments. Rather than viewing other firms as a roadblock, we should look to their work as encouraging examples of design successes. When we recognize and learn from our colleagues’ achievements, we strengthen our own design knowledge, which only benefits our clients and their end users.

<![CDATA[BLOG: How Rich Edinger is Strengthening the Built Environment]]> Rich Edinger, P.E., CFM is developing resilient infrastructure systems that will withstand the test of time.

As CPL’s Southeast Region Community Practice Leader, he manages large-scale civil engineering projects from the earliest stages of design through construction, serving as a respected advisor to local leaders and residents alike. Leveraging insight gleaned from his time with the Delaware and Georgia Departments of Transportation (DOT), as well as his tenure as the Director of Public Works for the city of Suwanee, GA, he strives to build strong community foundations by increasing connectivity and engagement, and has become an embedded public servant in the process.

“Having worked in the public sector, I understand exactly where our clients are coming from. They want to make life better for their constituents, but face complex engineering hurdles,” he said. ”Our job is to help them make informed decisions that keep society moving and enable residents to thrive.”

With more than 17 years at CPL under his belt, Edinger has tackled everything from climate resiliency plans to bridge and dam rehabilitation assignments. His recent ventures include planning services for Hall County; unified development code work for the cities of Acworth, GA, and Social Circle, GA; and comprehensive civil design services for the city of Flowery Branch, GA.

A rendering of the future Farmers Market streetscape at Pine Street Park in Flowery Branch, GA.

When he isn’t meeting with clients, Edinger leads CPL’s project teams in performing erosion control inspections; conducting site reviews; and interacting with permitting agencies such as the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Reflecting his desire to elevate quality of life throughout Georgia and beyond, in his spare time, Edinger serves as the Vice Chairman of the Gwinnett County Planning Commission. He’s also an active member of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Gwinnett County Stormwater Authority and the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM).

He says his perpetual goal is to keep both clients’ needs and wants top of mind.

“We don’t make our clients’ decisions for them―as their partners, we devise thoughtful strategies that help get them where they want to go,” Edinger said, adding, “The best way to support our communities is to really listen to what they have to say.”

<![CDATA[BLOG: Invaluable Insight Gained from Effective Client User Groups]]> The foundation for a successful project starts with an extensive planning phase, where crucial design elements are laid out and identified with strategic drawings. Alongside client partners, CPL approaches this process through visioning sessions to outline project needs and design preferences, followed by a series of user group meetings to acquire deep knowledge about an organization.

The most effective user group meetings often include key project stakeholders, client staff and a range of potential end users who come together to share their personal input. The insight gained from well-orchestrated user groups allows us to bring clients the following key benefits.

          To fully understand a project’s design requirements, we must first understand the clientele and direct users of the targeted space. This effort varies significantly depending on the market.

          For instance, healthcare users include everyone from executives, doctors, nurses, patients and family support; whereas education users involve administrators, educators, students and members of the community. Different users warrant different design decisions.

          The more users who attend organized user group meetings, the better our team can interpret the daily problems faced from multiple angles, and level up effective solutions to tackle them all.

        3. User group meetings are rooted in establishing an open and honest work relationship between our team and the client. During these meetings, we aim to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that encourages the free flow of easy, casual discussions from all participants. As our team prompts users to offer their valuable insight, we actively listen to ensure feedback is heard and accounted for.

        5. An organization curates its brand identity with various methodologies, including personal user experiences, word of mouth, social media and marketing, among others. However, these outward perceptions present limitations in terms of giving us a thorough understanding of a client’s mission and core values. This barrier is broken during user group meetings.

          After several meetings, our team possess a full scope of an organization’s specific needs and desires, as well as an innate understanding of end user preferences. This knowledge propels the most creative design concepts.
        7. The more we collaborate as a fully vested team, the easier it is to create impactful design solutions that not only incorporate guided input, but also strengthen the relationship between us and the client.

          To fully perceive a brand through design, we need to have meaningful conversations about a client’s principles and identify the lasting impact they want to have on their people and communities. User groups illuminate these discussions, allowing our team to authentically integrate a client’s brand identity into final designs.

          Engaging in user group conversations over formal presentations ultimately helps us become fully immersed in our projects. These open discussions enable personal, ingenious ideas to be pitched, heard and further developed. Collectively, the creative ideas we share together are always the most powerful solutions to consider.

    The firsthand feedback we receive from our clients and their end users is what sets the stage for a successful project. As part of our collaborative planning process, CPL rallies behind user group meetings because we have borne witness to the exceptional design solutions that inevitably emerge from them.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes Greg Royer to Lead Sustainability Efforts]]> ALBANY, NY — CPL, a full-service design firm serving public and private-sector clients for more than 47 years, is pleased to announce the addition of Greg Royer in the role of Eastern New York Sustainability Practice Manager. This new leadership position will help scale the firm’s energy services and provide enhanced support for clients spanning diverse practice areas.

Royer will draw insight from nearly two decades in the realm of energy performance contracting (EPC) to expand upon the firm’s EPC capabilities, enabling clients to pursue long-term building improvement opportunities that minimize their forward operating costs, increase energy efficiency, offset C02 emissions and facilitate carbon-neutral status in line with new government mandates.

With his guidance, the Sustainability Team will work alongside CPL’s High Performance Design experts to help clients understand how and where energy is being consumed within their facilities; identify cost-effective measures for new construction and renovation ventures; utilize grant funding programs; and ensure energy saving goals are achieved in a timely and practical manner.

“It is critical to our clients, team members and the global community that we guarantee a sustainable future by designing infrastructure that increases our resiliency and improves the health of our planet,” said Rick Henry, P.E., President at CPL. “Greg’s expertise and talent for mitigating energy demand will prove instrumental in growing our Sustainability Team and championing clean energy processes throughout the regions we serve.”

Prior to joining CPL, Royer served as a Senior Account Executive for Trane Technologies in Albany, NY, where he managed large-scale EPC projects and lead generation; his wide range of experience also encompasses energy conservation and brokering; building system controls; renewable technologies; high performance lighting; energy finance solutions; and client relationship management.

He holds a degree in in Computer Network Systems and is an active member of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), as well as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The firm is confident that Royer will leverage his extensive industry knowledge to strengthen existing client partnerships, secure new prospects and drive progress for the entire CPL team.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Community, Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Education and Transportation – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and

structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BLOG: What Healthcare Means to Adam Chahulski ]]> Adam Chahulski, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP knows firsthand that quality healthcare design can transform lives for the better.

As CPL’s North Carolina Healthcare Practice Leader, he attributes personal medical encounters with motivating him to continuously research and implement more effective healthcare design methodologies.

In 2015, his daughter Sadie was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease and underwent emergency surgery at just seven days old. Now a healthy elementary school student, her recovery process helped him develop a better understanding of critical care needs as they relate to patients and their families.

Chahulski and his wife Kelly detail Sadie’s story in this video produced by the American Heart Association.

Day to day, Chahulski works alongside seasoned medical professionals to envision elegant treatment facilities for communities spanning the entire state. Whether he’s renovating a small hospital wing or programming a 500,000 sq. ft. bed tower, he never strays from his goal of promoting health and wellness through proactive design.

“The spaces we create are designed not only to help doctors provide better care to patients, but to offer respite for visitors and staff as well,” he said. “Everyone will be impacted by the healthcare industry at some point. It’s our job to design comfortable and adaptable spaces that enhance those experiences from beginning to end.”

Chahulski has applied the knowledge he gleaned from Sadie’s hospital stays toward advancing CPL’s ongoing healthcare projects, including a new Care Tower at AtriumHealth Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC; an expansion for the Heart and Vascular Care Center at Cone Health Alamance Regional MedicalCenter in Burlington, NC; and a new Cancer Center at FirstHealthof the Carolinas in Pinehurst, NC.

Interior rendering of the Chemotherapy Infusion space at the future FirstHealth Cancer Center (currently under construction).

When he isn’t managing projects, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children at the beach, barbecuing, or playing wiffle ball. He also volunteers with the American Heart Association (AHA) and, on Sadie’s annual “heart-a-versary,” expresses his gratitude to the doctors who saved her life by bringing them heart-shaped cookies.

“As healthcare architects, we won’t always know what it’s like to stand in a patient’s shoes. But meeting them, hearing their stories, and walking out their experiences―those are the defining moments that renew our passion and underscore the gravity of the work that we do,” he said.

<![CDATA[BLOG: CPL Charlotte, Where Fellowship is Everything ]]> CPL’s location in Charlotte, NC, is the living embodiment of co-creation and teamwork.

Defined by soothing natural light, splashes of vibrant color, thriving plant life and rearrangeable workstations, the charming office was intentionally envisioned to promote adaptability and bolster warm interpersonal connections between team members.

The contemporary kitchen, noted for its sophisticated navy walls and modern accoutrements, serves dually as a conference room for team meetings and design charrettes, with moveable wheeled chairs and tables that enable teams to quickly reconfigure the space as needed. Likewise, the primary studio (dubbed the “newsroom”) features open desks with low partitions that encourage seamless interactions between the team.

“Our layout fosters casual conversation, resulting in a highly collaborative and inclusive office culture,” Architect, Robin Washco, AIA, NCARB said. “The streamlined communication increases productivity and gives way to more inspired project outcomes.”

Situated in Charlotte’s upscale SouthPark business district, the office is minutes away from the largest shopping center in the Carolinas, the SouthPark Mall, providing team members with a host of stores, restaurants, and entertainment destinations (including Paco’s Tacos and Tequila, The Cowfish, and Legion Brewing) to explore and indulge in after work. The stunning grounds of the historic Morrocroft Manor estate are also just around the corner, and nearby Symphony Park, famous for its Summer Pops concerts, hosts free events throughout the year.

Recognizing the positive impact that strong coworker relationships can have on firm-wide projects, CPL Charlotte’s leadership team takes advantage of the office’s central location to host non-traditional group hangouts, both during lunch and outside of work hours. The occasional team “field day” might entail exploring the outdoors at the National Whitewater Center, honing their golf skills at Topgolf, or go-karting with the neighboring Greensboro office.

Moreover, it isn’t unusual to see team members gathering for monthly book club meetings or attending holiday and Super Bowl parties together. Athletically-inclined team members also compete with rival firms in the city’s A/E/C volleyball league during the spring and summer seasons, and others partake in CPL Charlotte’s “Womentoring” program, which provides emerging female professionals with expert resources and guidance.

Pictured left to right: Team members engage in some team building at Topgolf, while the office’s volleyball team compete in the city’s A/E/C league.

“Our leadership team is extremely supportive; they strive to ensure everyone feels heard and engaged, and they’re constantly exposing us to robust developmental opportunities,” said Interior Designer, Molly Livingstone, NCIDQ, LEED AP. “From tackling diverse projects to attending professional workshops, we’re encouraged to pave our own unique career paths by branching out and trying new things.”

Work-wise, the CPL Charlotte team applies their collective expertise toward brainstorming transformative design solutions for a wide range of healthcare and community assignments across North Carolina and beyond. Recent projects include the FirstHealth Cancer Center in Pinehurst, NC, which will be completed in December 2022; the Belmont Community Recreation Center in Belmont, NC; and the Jonas Hill Hospital and Behavioral Health Clinic in Lenoir, NC.

“Whether we’re enhancing the patient care experience, creating state-of-the-art facilities for people suffering from mental health or substance abuse challenges, or creating spaces that enrich our communities, we extend our fellowship beyond the office to increase quality of life across the board,” said Adam Chahulski, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal and North Carolina Healthcare Practice Leader. “Our team approaches every task from a place of genuine care and concern – and that mindset is carried through in all of our projects.”

<![CDATA[BLOG: STEAM Wing Renovation and Curriculum Development Propels District Towards Enriched Learning Opportunities for All Students]]> Recall the traditional classroom environment: box-like rooms with rigid rows of bulky, steel-framed desks; students being directed to keep forward-facing attention towards a teacher with white chalk in hand; and limited opportunities for inspirative, hands-on learning amidst a dull, neutral-colored backdrop.

A new generation of students requires a new generation of classrooms.

CPL recently had the pleasure of working with the York Central School District to transform an under-utilized third floor wing of the district’s Middle/High School into an architecturally bold, creatively inspiring center to support science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) learning.

Click to view/download full case study >

<![CDATA[BROADCAST: Promoting Community Wellness with Passionate Care and Understanding]]> As the regional Healthcare Practice Leader of Pennsylvania & Western New York, Michelle Trott, AIA, NCARB, ACHA, is committed to reshaping clinical environments to enhance the quality of care that community members receive. Discover the deeply personal experiences that drive Michelle’s passion for designing spaces that serve as functional centers of comfort and respite for patients and family.

Explore more stories from our CPL Profiles series >

<![CDATA[BLOG: Trusted Partnership Propels a Branded Modernization of K-12 Schools]]> Aging schools throughout the country are boasting outdated and uninspired designs that lack the modernization and flexibility today’s students have come to expect.

To address infrastructure needs and enhance learning environments, the South Orangetown Central School District (SOCSD)—a repeat client partner to CPL—sought to reinvigorate its various schools with the commissioning of several Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).

The vision for each project was clear: create sophisticated, tech-forward, multi-purpose spaces that prominently represent the district’s brand identity, sparking a more enriching and communal learning experience for students.

With extensive knowledge of the district’s brand requirements, CPL was well-versed in the preferred design and material choices. Influenced by guidance from key stakeholders and established collaboration, our team led the critical transformation of several school spaces, including the conversion of the district’s middle school library from a closed-off and aging room to a more welcoming, flexible space suitable for students, staff and Board of Education members alike.

Image of open doors leading into a library

“We envisioned an open and inviting library that would be versatile enough to serve as both a learning and meeting space, which was a crucial element requested by the district,” said Lauren Tarsio, AIA, Project Manager at CPL.

Completed designs for the 2,420 sq. ft. space feature breakout zones with secluded nooks for small group gatherings or private study and enlarged side rooms for conference meetings. A myriad of technological additions was also integrated, including TVs, drop-down projection screens, smart writable surfaces and customizable furniture, further supporting a more modernized design goal.

Additionally, the prominent color scheme presented throughout the space was intentionally chosen to bring the district’s brand identity forward.

“It was pretty crucial for us to find creative ways to integrate their red, gray, white and black colors into elements like the flooring, tilework, wall paint, ceiling fixtures and even the furniture,” explained Tarsio. “Those choices merged well with an opened ceiling and the inclusion of floor-to-ceiling glass walls, which added volume to the space and invited plenty of natural light in.”

Creative branding efforts made their way from inside the contemporary library to outside―specifically on the district’s high school’s turf field. To bolster spirit and magnify community pride, our team helped strategize the central placement of the school’s logo and color palette in the endzones, netting and goalposts.

“After years of wear and tear, the high school turf needed a significant upgrade,” said Tarsio. “The district looked to us to navigate them in the right direction, especially when it came to electing a new infill system.”

Leveraging data and feedback from stakeholders as well as guidance from experts specializing in synthetic sports turf replacement, CPL led the district toward confidently selecting an environmentally conscious coconut infill engineered for controlled performance and impact safety.

This strategic advisement empowered by partnerships is what yields the most impactful K-12 spaces―a concept that was also proven true with the deliberate renovation of the high school’s aging cafeteria.

The former, outdated space was transformed into a cafeteria reminiscent of a food court complete with barstool seating options on one side, and booths on the other, giving students the flexibility of varying socializing atmospheres. True to the SOCSD’s desire for assimilated spaces, thoughtful branding efforts resulted in a contemporary dining environment filled with vibrant school coloring.

“For the past several years, CPL has been an invaluable partner towards guiding our school district’s long-range master capital planning,” said Dr. Robert Pritchard, SOCSD Superintendent. “The K-12 team has promoted trust and confidence with their professionalism, technical expertise, and above all, their learner-centered approach to facilities improvement.”

Students spend hours of their week, year after year in K-12 schools, so it is imperative that their learning environments not only support their academic successes but are also versatile enough to create purposeful, lasting memories. Guided by invested partnerships, CPL repeatedly propels high-stakes projects from conceptual ideas into refreshed, innovative educational spaces that are well-equipped to elevate the learning experience for K-12 students and staff.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: New Healthy Living Campus Breaks Ground to Enhance Community Health in Batavia ]]> BATAVIA, NY — On July 11, 2022, CPL joined officials from the GLOW Region YMCA and Rochester Regional Health’s (RRH) United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new community health building known as the Healthy Living Campus, which will be located on East Main Street in the heart of Batavia, NY.

A joint collaboration between the two entities, the campus will dually accommodate YMCA visitors and UMMC patients by providing comprehensive medical care and wellness programs for all. The project is part of the YMCA’s “Transforming Lives” campaign, which aims to rejuvenate Downtown Batavia.

Renderings of the Healthy Living Campus

The two-story building will include a wellness center; an athletic pool featuring a splash pad; a gymnasium with an indoor track; group exercise studios; a teaching kitchen; community use rooms; a full medical office suite equipped with exam, conference and treatment rooms; youth learning spaces; and a “Kid’s Adventure” indoor playground designed to strengthen motor skills. The facility will also feature an informational space that illustrates the town’s rich agricultural heritage and acknowledges donors who helped facilitate the campus’ construction.

Renderings of the Healthy Living Campus

Through the YMCA’s partnership with UMMC, the facility will provide primary care; behavioral health and crisis intervention; telemedicine integration; cancer prevention outreach; chronic illness support; and adult education services to the Greater Genesee County region.

“Our team worked closely with our YMCA and UMMC partners to design a space that would be equal parts modern and functional, and accessible to people of all ages and abilities,” said CPL Interior Designer, Carly Owczarczak, NCIDQ, LEED AP, WELL AP. “Once it’s finished, the campus will promote education, health and personal development, and serve as a catalyst for immeasurable growth throughout the Batavia community.”

Funding for the Healthy Living Campus comes from New York State’s economic development and healthcare grant programs, which contributed nearly $11.6 million, as well as local contributions. Members of the CPL team volunteered for the YMCA’s annual Summer Camp 5K event to raise funds for the project.

Image of children in hard hats holding a sign that says "We are so grateful for supporters like you"

CPL led project management and design efforts alongside Ciurzynski Consulting, partners in construction administration, and GRO Development, LLC, collaborators specializing in architectural programming for not-for-profit YMCA facilities across the United States. The team also worked with the City of Batavia’s Planning and Development Committee to ensure designs for the 75,000 sq. ft. building adhered to local and state codes and standards.

The $33.5 million project is expected to be completed in May of 2024.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Community, Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Education and Transportation – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Team Member in Newburgh]]> NEWBURGH, NY — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for 47 years, is pleased to welcome Esa Cano to its growing team in Newburgh, NY.

Joining the marketing team as a Digital Marketing Specialist, Cano will primarily be responsible for working with internal teams to plan, execute and disseminate digital marketing strategies and content, including social media campaigns, lead generation funnels, search engine optimization (SEO), e-blasts and paid advertising.

With ample marketing and public relations expertise and sharp critical thinking skills, she will play a major role in driving CPL's digital narrative, enhancing the firm's online presence and encouraging business growth through the development of tactical marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining the firm, Cano served as a Garage Door Technician at Friedlander Garage Doors. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the College of Saint Rose, from which she graduated summa cum laude.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Community and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Team Member in Poughkeepsie]]> POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for 47 years, is pleased to welcome Jonathan DiRocco, RA to its growing team in Poughkeepsie, NY.

DiRocco joins the architectural team as a seasoned Project Manager with nearly two decades of experience providing oversight for multifamily housing, retail, commercial and residential projects. In addition to leading design team efforts, his core competences will include estimating fees, outlining scopes of work and assisting the marketing team with proposal development tasks. His rigorous attention to detail will ensure all deliverables are provided to clients on time and with the highest level of quality.

Prior to joining CPL, DiRocco served as an Architectural Project Manager for Tinkelman Architecture. He earned a Bachelor of Science in architectural technology from the SUNY College of Technology at Alfred and maintains professional architectural licensure (RA) in New York state.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Community and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Team Member in Rochester]]> ROCHESTER, NY — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for 47 years, is pleased to welcome Ashley Diltz, Cameron Howard and Daniel Hards to its growing team in Rochester, NY.

Diltz joins the firm as an Interior Designer whose core responsibilities will include performing design analyses, developing 3D models, preparing interior elevations and participating in client visioning sessions. With ample experience utilizing the Adobe Creative Suite, Revit and AutoCAD to implement adaptive design elements, she will identify and integrate creative solutions on behalf of the firm’s clients.

Prior to joining CPL full-time, Diltz served as an intern. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Joining the firm as a Junior Mechanical Designer. Howard will assist in the development of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system designs; create sketches, layouts and plans; and research engineering codes and standards. He brings to CPL experience conducting rockwell hardness, tensile, torsion, bending and buckling testing; performing design and drafting tasks; and preparing responses to requests for information. His mastery of AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Revit and Trimble will enable him to contribute significantly to a variety of projects across the firm’s practice areas.

Howard also served as an intern before joining the firm full-time. He earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering technology from Alfred State College.

Hards joins the civil engineering team as a Project Engineer who will apply robust problem-solving skills toward planning and designing industrial and commercial developments, water treatment and distribution projects and other large-scale engineering and infrastructure assignments. His proficiency in industry best programs such as CAD, SAP2000 and Revit, as well as his extensive knowledge of steel design, project management and sustainability, will allow him to provide support for a wide range of projects.

Hards previously served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Armed Forces. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Community and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Team Member in Charlotte]]> CHARLOTTE, NC — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for 47 years, is pleased to welcome Austin Ange to its growing team in Charlotte, NC.

Ange joins the firm as an Architectural Designer. He will be primarily responsible for participating in conceptual design activities, including the creation of 2D and 3D models and the development of project specifications. With ample knowledge of the healthcare market sector and an exceptional grasp of AutoCAD, Revit and the Adobe Creative Suite, he is well-equipped to contribute to a wide range of CPL’s critical Healthcare Practice assignments.

Prior to joining the firm full-time, Ange served as an intern. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI), where he also worked as a Print Lab Assistant.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Community and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BULLETIN: CPL Welcomes New Team Members in Greensboro]]> GREENSBORO, NC — CPL, a full-service design firm that has served public and private-sector clients for 47 years, is pleased to welcome Jack Blazek and Sarah Pereira to its growing team in Greensboro, NC.

Blazek joins the firm’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering team as a Junior MEP Designer. Utilizing programs such as MATLAB, Autodesk Inventor and Revit, he will create drawings for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for a wide range of building design projects; conduct site visits to gather data; and prepare program sketches and layouts.

Blazek earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI), where he served as a member of the Galipatia Professional Development Committee; he also participated in SAE International’s Baja SAE Competition as a member of VPI’s competitive design team.

Joining the creative marketing team as a Senior Copywriter, Pereira will apply resolute writing, editing and research skills toward crafting compelling content that succinctly reflects the CPL brand, including but not limited to print brochures, landing pages, email campaigns, paid advertisements, blog posts, whitepapers and video scripts. Her rich storehouse of knowledge and expertise is complemented by her profound ability to visualize and craft unique solutions that will enhance business development efforts across the entire firm.

Prior to joining CPL, Pereira served as a Senior Copywriter at Q Link Wireless. She earned a Master of Arts in print journalism from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in English language from Florida Atlantic University.

About CPL
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 450-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Healthcare, Transportation, Community and Academic sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients. Visit to learn more.

<![CDATA[BUZZ: The Largest Architecture Firms in North Carolina]]> Home to many awe-inspiring public and private buildings that have become landmarks, North Carolina boasts a rich architectural heritage that continues to evolve with innovative collaborations between architects and businesses. CPL is honored to be recognized as one of the largest architecture firms in North Carolina.

Click here to see the full list

<![CDATA[BLOG: The Power of Purposeful Material and Finish Selections in a K-12 Setting]]> Take a walk through any historic K-12 school and you will likely find inconsistencies among prominent material and finish selections featured throughout each wing of the building. Conflicting wall paint colors mixed with irregular flooring patterns or differing cabinetry styles paired with random countertops―these are the typical, disparate interior elements that many districts are working with.

The cause for these incompatible design choices often stems from a series of small, “band aid” renovation projects completed by several different consultants over the school’s lifespan. Cause aside, the impact that these design disparities have on students, educators and facilities maintenance staff is far more important to recognize.

In addition to yielding a suboptimal learning environment that fails to encapsulate the school’s brand and spirit, facilities teams must also arm themselves with an arsenal of cleaning, waxing and maintenance supplies to adequately preserve all varying finishes.

At its best, a K-12 building should boast strong, uniform color choices and strategic graphic elements that coincide with a district’s mission. It should feature carefully selected, healthy materials that are free of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) or other harmful chemicals to keep occupants safe. It should also support responsible finishes selections that are cost-effective, fully functional and aesthetically pleasing.

CPL’s interior design team has developed a standardized approach to specifying materials and finishes throughout K-12 district. At its core, the process prioritizes four key considerations.


As a visitor moves throughout the interior of a school, intentional branding has the power to visually reflect a district’s core values, eliciting positive feelings of pride and trust among students and faculty. Examples of this proven tactic include:

      • Prominent logo placement on flooring, walls and windows
      • Tasteful art and graphics installation in the form of inspiring word walls or engaging photography
      • Specific product selections like custom terrazzo flooring―a low maintenance flooring system that has the durability and appearance of polished marble or granite but allows enormous versatility among available colors and design elements embedded in its surface.

CPL executed consistent, impressionable branding concepts for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District (NECSD) by proposing a familiar navy and gold theme among finish selections throughout all district buildings. In addition to magnifying school spirit, these thoughtful choices will help maintain uniformity in finish type, manufacturer and performance from school to school.

Rendering of Vails Gate Steam Academy features navy blue accent walls mixed with scattered blue and gold ceiling tiles to bolster NECSD school colors.

Product Safety

Designers are predisposed to help steer clients away from selecting hazardous building materials that contain harmful chemicals such as asbestos, PCBs and formaldehyde. Instead, the urge to choose safe and ‘healthy’ products that support innovation in green chemistry and advance schools towards sustainability goals is a top priority.

CPL often makes recommendations to use products with a DECLARE label, which confirms the removal of any ‘Red List’ chemicals―a list of “worst in class” materials, chemicals and elements known to pose serious risks to human health. We also look to use products that have earned an EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) or have achieved GREENGUARD Certification. Both labels affirm the safety of the products being used―a consideration that cannot be overlooked in a school environment.

Materials Maintenance

Every selected product has its own unique maintenance regiment. For instance, Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) flooring―a durable flooring system that offers multiple linear pattern options―requires periodic stripping and polishing to keep it looking nice. On the flip side, rubber floor tiles―a waterproof flooring system most often used in gyms and other high traffic areas―can last nearly 50 years without any intense maintenance effort.

Our K-12 Practice team emphasizes these considerations when working with key district stakeholders and facilities maintenance crews to build awareness around the importance of careful material selection.


Similar to purchasing consumer products from big box stores, significant price reductions come from buying building materials in bulk. This applies to using the same materials throughout a district or even different products that come from the same manufacturer.

CPL works closely with product representatives on behalf of districts to negotiate discounts when minimum square footage of products is purchased. Given recent price escalations, we understand the priority this needs to have when adhering to budgetary constraints.

As K-12 schools continue to age, it is imperative that we help them seamlessly evolve into the twenty-first century. Integrating a standardized approach to specifying materials and finishes is one small way to make big strides in this effort. Purposeful interior selections can allow school buildings to be re-imaged with personality and identity, drawing students, faculty and members of the community into an educational environment that’s destined to inspire.

<![CDATA[BLOG: Lauren Tarsio, the 24/7 Architect]]> Lauren Tarsio, AIA is always on the move.

As an Architectural Project Manager in CPL’s Newburgh office, she coordinates and executes tactical K-12 practice efforts across New York state, drawing insight from nearly two decades in the industry to create dynamic spaces that promote social wellness and enhance students’ experiences.

Her passion for and background in historic preservation—and her deep understanding of the role it can play within the larger context of urban revitalization and sustainability—has proven instrumental in building strong academic foundations that honor the past while ensuring students, and their communities, are well-prepared for the future.

“The K-12 team is focused on designing cooperative, hands-on educational spaces that make students want to engage their curriculums with teachers and peers,” Tarsio said. “Our work involves reimagining the way children think about learning, and that’s why it’s so important.”

In addition to attending board meetings, interfacing with clients and mentoring junior team members, Tarsio is deeply invested in strategic planning for CPL’s Vision 2025, and works closely with executive leadership to identify areas of growth for the K-12 practice. As a self-described “proponent of efficiency,” she credits the level of trust allotted by CPL leadership with enabling her to streamline processes and achieve project success.

“We’re given the autonomy to work in whatever way makes the most sense for us, and our leadership team employs a unique ‘open door’ policy that helps all team members ask questions, share ideas and really thrive,” Tarsio explained. “It’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else, and it’s been a real breath of fresh air.”

Tarsio, who celebrates five years with the firm this July, cites the team’s recent redesign for the library at South Orangetown Middle School (SOMS)—part of an $11 million capital improvement initiative at the South Orangetown Central School District (SOCSD)—as her favorite project thus far.

A before and after of the renewed SOMS library in Blauvelt, NY.

“CPL becomes a living, breathing extension of our clients’ teams, and to that point, we’ve developed a strong relationship with our partners at SOCSD,” she said. “This particular endeavor perfectly illustrates how transformative and impactful our projects can be when we invite clients to actively participate in the design process.”

Truly a 24/7 architect, when she isn’t spearheading projects, Tarsio can be found renovating her own house; she also provides building redesign and drafting assistance as a volunteer at her local boat club.

Her advice for emerging architectural professionals?

“Diplomacy is key. If you love architecture and you love working with people, everything will come naturally.”

<![CDATA[BLOG: Promoting Workforce Development in a Collegiate Setting at Chattahoochee Technical College]]> In recent years, the state of Georgia has observed a growing need for skilled tradespersons in advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies.

To support these needs, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG)—a leader in the state’s workforce development and adult education programs—commissioned a new Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Emerging Technologies (CAMET) at Chattahoochee Technical College, the largest technical college within the TCSG and one of CPL’s longest-running client partnerships in Georgia.

Following extensive programming and visioning sessions with key stakeholders from the TCSG, Chattahoochee Tech, and the Georgia State Finance and Insurance Commission (GSFIC), the vision for CAMET emerged. Having previously designed a wide range of projects for Chattahoochee’s North Metro campus, as well as other TCSG campuses, CPL was well-equipped to execute this state-funded project.

In order to promote cross-curricular collaboration, cooperative learning and adaptability, final designs for the new building featured contemporary classrooms and interiors with dedicated areas along public corridors for student gatherings and private study, as well as three flexible laboratory spaces that can be subdivided as needed. Mindful of life-cycle cost and sustainability, CPL ensured the design incorporated Georgia’s Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Construction Standards for State Buildings.

Key program elements included space for high-tech industrial maintenance, robotics and advanced machining laboratories; multipurpose workspaces with adjoining classrooms; computer laboratories; faculty offices; and conference rooms.

The building’s design and layout grants CAMET professors the ability to monitor student activities in both classrooms and laboratories—an instrumental aspect in maintaining a safe, communal learning environment. With glass walls and roll-up, garage-style doors, a direct line of sight between the laboratories was created, fostering a sense of connectivity throughout the entire facility.

Additionally, the layout integrated a wide range of modern accoutrements, including charging stations, video display boards and efficient building systems that support the instructional mission of the Center, all to keep step with the evolving mechanical technology landscape.

“Advanced manufacturing and technology are not static, so by design, CAMET is highly flexible to accommodate future manufacturing techniques, shifting teaching pedagogies and changes in the ways students learn,” explained K. Scott Gordon, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal at CPL. “Dr. Ron Newcomb [President of Chattahoochee Tech] challenged the team from the start to be mindful of the future, and we believe the design and layout provides students at Chattahoochee Tech a future-ready facility that will also serve them—and the community—well today.”

True to their interpersonal and engaging work approach, in addition to sharing hand-drafted illustrations, the project team invited stakeholders to explore detailed virtual reality (VR) walkthroughs generated by CPL’s Creative Labs team. The opportunity to immerse themselves into the conceptual spaces provided college officials with a greater sense of understanding and more succinctly communicated the building’s prospective “look and feel,” which streamlined the design process for all involved parties.

Completed in 2022, the $10 million CAMET facility is now home to the college’s Precision Machining and Manufacturing program and the Industrial Maintenance and Electrical Technology program, offering credit and non-credit courses in robotics, aerial vehicle manufacturing and other emerging technologies. The Center is poised to help current and prospective students across Chattahoochee Tech’s northern Metro Atlanta service area eagerly pursue careers in skilled trades through higher education for decades to come.

<![CDATA[BROADCAST: CPL Career Paths — Senior Structural Engineer, Brian Cooney, P.E.]]>

Brian Cooney's Career Path

For more than two decades, Brian Cooney, P.E. has joined forces with fellow team members to prepare seamless, structural designs that "pave the path" to community success. A dedicated and involved mentor to emerging engineers, his expansive knowledge base and practical problem-solving approach have proven indispensable in helping the entire firm achieve new heights.

A career with CPL is an open door to a world of opportunity. No matter what role you fill, there's a customized path of exciting growth and professional development for you to take.

Learn more about working at CPL