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Austin ISD, Humble ISD, and Katy ISD have been selected to receive the 2021-22 Caudill Award, the highest honor in the annual Exhibit of School Architecture competition facilitated by TASA and Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) for projects that exemplify excellence in planning and design of the learning environment. The architectural projects will be on display in the exhibit hall and the winners will be recognized at the 2022 TASA Midwinter Conference in Austin January 30-February 2.

The winning projects received at least four stars from six areas of distinction, making them eligible for the Caudill Award, which is named after Texas architect William Wayne Caudill (1914–1983), whose progressive concepts continue to influence school design.

Austin ISD won for its Doss Elementary School, designed by Stantec. This replacement school with an owl mascot — known as the “School in the Trees” — shares its site with a city park and embraces sustainable, biophilic design to further reinforce its setting in nature. With clearly stated project requirements and a strong existing cultural foundation, the new school environment delivers operational value and state-of-the-art learning spaces, allowing each student the opportunity to find their own unique path to knowledge.

Humble ISD won for its Centennial Elementary School, designed by Joiner Architects, Inc. The design focuses on telling the 100-year story of the school district through the years, with the river and railroad as main components. Each pod has its own theme: Kindergartners have the forest; first graders have the “river”; second graders have “charming old town”; third graders have the “origin of oil”; fourth graders have the “airport”; and fifth graders have the “lunar colony.” Careful planning was taken to provide consistent thematic flow throughout the school.

Katy ISD won for its Gerald D. Young Agricultural Sciences Center, designed by VLK Architects. Serving the district’s entire K-12 population of more than 87,000 students, this facility was built on the important historical aspects of the agriculture industry, which has existed in this community for decades. This modernized structure incorporates instruction, rodeo, and a venue for community events.

The Exhibit of School Architecture awards are given at the discretion of a 12-member jury: four school board members, four administrators, and four representatives of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE). The Caudill Award winners were chosen from among 22 projects awarded Stars of Distinction in the areas of community, planning, transformation, design, value, and innovation.