Blessed To Have An Amazing Team With A Vision For Greatness
An Intimate Introduction – Building The Team
We were introduced to Tom Thompson Fire Chief and his team at the Drayton Valley Brazeau County Fire Services Department by a great friend Stefan Johansson of McEllhanney Consulting (formerly of Eidos Landscape Architects). Within the first few minutes of our introduction Tom and I discovered a shared passion that galvanized a kindred spirit!
We embarked on a most incredible journey… Together we enhanced the Chief’s vison to create the world’s best First Responders Training Academy – a tall order? Of course, but we were all up for this inspiring challenge.
An Audacious Vision
As a team we started with an intensive design Charrette that included a winter walk through the beautifully treed site tucked up against the Airport. Together we found the essence of the vision, we developed a project charter that we referred to regularly to ensure that we never strayed from the essential purpose of the vision… We were on the way to what was to become the biggest leap in learning any of us had ever undertaken.
We have extensive experience in designing educational environments, but this was different! We could tell from day 1 that even though we always immerse ourselves in the world of our clients, for the first time in a long time we had a client that truly was invested in every aspect of the project… Tom was so engaged that every thought, every sketch, every idea was like looking at the explorations through new eyes… the eyes of a “Volunteer First Responder in a Rural Community”… maybe the biggest intellectual transformation I have ever had to undertake.
This was Big! Looking at learning from a experiential & immersive perspective, creating an environment where learning is inspiring and fun. We were creating a place that was founded on the personalized service delivery principles of Disney, the engaged creative environment of Google, and the transformative applied research activities of What If!
Remove the intimidation of classroom and exams by creating a process where the “guests” control what and how they learn. Build confidence by creating elements that play to the strengths of individuals in preparation for the formal testing, and more importantly, real life Emergency Response. This was the genesis for understanding how far we could push the design and development of a powerful new learning environment.
A place for every type of learner!
Centering The Guiding Principles
The Academy was designed on a foundation of the following key drivers:
- This project will be an economic driver for the region.
- Exploit the access to Drayton Valley via air travel supporting industry expansion.
- Experience the Disaster City, live gas fires, trench rescue, industrial emergency scenarios, vehicle extrication, Oil and Gas safety training.
- The learning experience will be “Edutainment” in a Fully-Immersive Classroom Environment”.
- Integrate classroom, scenario planning, and develop active training.
- To test the planned scenarios with full scale live action events 24/7/365 in situe with the complications of weather, other responders, and real life events.
As we began imagining the possibilities, Chief Tom encouraged us to dissect who National Fire Protection Association and the Alberta Fire Fighting Training Center and all others that we could find, looking for ways to encourage better training and inspired learning.
Working as a team, Eidos led by Stefan created a truly imaginative Scenario Based Site Master Development Plan. Tom began exploring a new approach to Course Development, and at Design Revolution we created the Global Learning Conference, and Entertainment Center.
What evolved was magical, we connected with some great partners from technology, entertainment, and education to create a place that inspires learning on an entirely new level… These great partners were inspired the possibility of working with us to create the first learning center of its kind. A place where people, technology, and the environment combine to challenge possibilities for sharing and learning (link below provides a fly-by of the Academy)!
In the end the Pinnacle Academy for First Responders and Safety Training opened the door to a reignited passion for creating great places that inspire learning for people of all abilities… Together we removed the “institution” from learning and reintroduced “creativity and inspiration”!
The Academy Project inspired Design Revolution to explore how our dramatic leaps in thinking can be applied to accelerate the evolution of all formal education including public K-12 learning… We have embarked on creating environments for those with learning challenges