Revisiting the Old Stomping Grounds

Electrical Engineer Cooper Hill shares his experience working on his alma mater, Adams Central.

In 2010 as a freshman at Adams Central High School, I experienced the construction of a new middle school wing and high school classrooms. It was really exciting as I entered high school. I didn’t know it then, but Design Collaborative was the lead architect on the project.
Fast forward almost 8 years to winter 2017. I’m sitting in DC’s Monday morning staff meeting as an electrical engineering intern, now a senior in college and anxious to finally work on full projects. It’s always exciting to hear new jobs coming into our office. Sometimes, these might be with fresh clients that have yet to work with DC. Often, it’s a client that was happy with our previous work and has come back for another project. Naturally, my ears perked up when I heard that we were proposing to work with Adams Central again on a new student activity center and elementary wing. Right away, I asked if I could be part of the project.

Fast forward another six months to June 2018. I’m now a full time associate at DC, and the new additions at Adams Central are under construction. My supervisors were more than happy to add me to the project team early on in the design process. They understood my deep connection to the school, considering it’s a K-12 campus and I’d been there from kindergarten through graduation. I was salutatorian of my class in 2014. Graduating from Adams Central was something I was really proud of. Visiting the site for preliminary work, I knew my way around the campus and was familiar with the various school officials we were working with. I even joked with one of my past coaches that I was going to make sure his new office wouldn’t have any outlets in return for all of the running he made me do.

As an electrical engineer, my role in the project is to work on both power distribution and lighting design for the various spaces. Areas of the school are being renovated, and it’s necessary to find solutions to powering those classrooms and offices using the existing electrical system. In areas with new construction, an entirely new distribution system was properly sized and added. Specialty areas, like the new choir and band rooms, require specific equipment to meet the needs of both students and teachers. I created drawings detailing the necessary instructions that the onsite workers use to bring our ideas to fruition.

Working on a project for my alma mater gives me the satisfaction of knowing my friends and family will benefit firsthand from the work I’m a part of. My cousins will get to play sports in the new gym, and my past teachers will teach students in the classrooms I helped to design. In a sense, I feel that I’m giving back to the school and the people that helped me get where I am today – working for an awesome company and designing unique spaces. Even my mom, who works in the school cafeteria, will feel the impact of my work, and there’s nothing better than a proud mother!

At DC, we create “People-first places.” And if anyone happens to forget, it’s even painted on our wall. We strive day in and day out to design and create spaces that help our clients achieve their goals, and I was lucky to experience that even as an intern. Working on a project for the school that enabled me to graduate both high school and college was satisfying on personal and professional levels. I learned a lot as an intern during this project, and was able to carry those lessons into my full-time position. I’m extremely excited to see the finished product. Go Jets!

Cooper Hill
Associate, Electrical Engineer