EDI News Archives

June 9, 2009

EDI Publishes Book

From An architectural studio project sponsored by the Educational Design Institute of Mississippi State University, dealing with the master planning and redesign of Forrest County Agricultural High School in Brooklyn, MS.

October 4, 2009

Jeff Lackney, first director of EDI, dies

Jeff Lackney, the first director of the Educational Design Institute, died on August 29 at age 48. The following appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal:

Jeffery A. "Jeff" Lackney, age 48, of Shorewood Hills passed away on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009, at HospiceCare Inc. in Fitchburg. He was born April 17, 1961, in Raleigh, N.C., the son of Robert R. and Barbara A. Lackney. Jeff is survived by his wife, Jill Dittrich Lackney; a son, Nickolas; his parents; and three brothers, Todd, Chris and Matthew. He will be greatly missed by all who know and love him. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Those who wish to express their sympathy with a gift may wish to consider HospiceCare Inc, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg, WI 53711.

October 6, 2009

A Tribute to Jeff Lackney

Professor John Poros worked with Jeff during Jeff's time at Mississippi State University.

Jeff Lackney came to Mississippi as the first director of EDI and saw both challenges and opportunity. Jeff right away began to work with students, teachers, principals and superintendents in the state to improve educational facilities. One of the great triumphs that Jeff had as director was the planning of the McWillie and Van Winkle Elementary Schools in the Jackson Public School District. Both of these schools are new facilities designed to have a Montessori program, a first in the Jackson public school district and probably in the state. I worked with Jeff on this project and saw firsthand his commitment to the voices of all the people involved, but also his wish for these school buildings to challenge both students and teachers. McWillie Elementary is now a Level 5 school, the highest achievement for a public school in the state. We all saw Jeff’s commitment to improving and rethinking education and are lucky that he could be with us in Mississippi for a time. We all send our condolences to his wife, Jill and son, Nicholas.

Prof. John Poros
Director, Carl Small Town Center
Mississippi State University

November 17, 2009

EDI Discusses "Green Schools" With Mississippi Legislature

Chris Cosper and Larry Morgan spoke to a joint committee of the Mississippi legislature Monday. Joining a diverse group of experts including urban planners, contractors, and state officials, the EDI team presented a fact sheet and answered questions concerning green design.

Download the fact sheet:

Download file

December 22, 2009

EDI Recognized by Architect Magazine

The December 2009 edition of Architect magazine includes a detailed story on architectural education. Mississippi State University is recognized as one of three schools excelling in community design. EDI is one of the four research centers mentioned.

MSU is also recognized as one of six universities focused on "social justice."

A link to the article:

January 21, 2010

EDI Presents at PREPS Winter Conference

On December 10, 2009, EDI presented a one-hour program entitled "Constructing the Best School: From Initial Design to Everyday Maintenance" at the PREPS Winter Conference.

Designed for both construction experts and novices, the presentation contained thirteen design and operation strategies, including:

#1 Don't Build Anything without a Master Plan
#3 Don't Build Your School in a Hole
#4 Consider All Forms of Traffic
#5 Know Where the Front Door Is
#8 Consider the Roof Carefully

EDI is ready to help school districts with their design needs: our projects range from district-wide facility evaluations to re-designing the entrance to a high school.

Spring 2010 EDI Studio Begins Work

Forming one of the most significant interdepartmental collaborations in recent memory, the Mississippi State University School of Architecture and Interior Design Department have teamed to form the Spring 2010 EDI Studio. With 18 fourth-year architecture students and 16 senior interior design students, the combined studio is one of the largest studios in the history of the College of Architecture, Art + Design (CAAD) to tackle a single, real-world design problem.

This semester's project is a state-of-the-art high school centered on an advanced, profession-based curriculum.

Earlier this week, students from the EDI Studio visited the proposed site of the high school and met with members of the client team.

February 9, 2010

EDI Studio Visits Two Schools in Texas

Taking a chartered bus from Starkville, the EDI Studio (Instructor Chris Cosper, Professor Jane Greenwood, Mr. Larry Morgan, 18 fourth-year architecture students, and 16 senior interior design students) traveled to Dallas, Texas, on February 4-6. While in the Dallas area, the EDI studio faculty and students visited the Career and Technical Education (CTE) center in Frisco and Booker T. Washington High School in downtown Dallas.

Links to the schools:

April 20, 2010

EDI Hosts First Conference

The Educational Design Institute hosted the first EDI Conference on March 30-31, 2010, at the Riley Center in Meridian, Miss. Thirty-four people -- including K-12 educators and physical plant managers, community college leaders, and MSU architecture students -- participated in the conference. Dr. Kenneth Tanner was the keynote speaker, and sessions covered the following topics:

-- An Update from Safe and Orderly Schools
-- Working with the Bureau of Building
-- Working with Federal Granting Agencies
-- 21st Century Classroom Design
-- Green Schools
-- LEED for Schools
-- Geo-source Heat Pumps

Based on the positive feedback from this year's conference, we are already looking forward to the 2011 EDI Conference.

EDI would like to thank Dr. Ed Davis with the MSU Rural Community College Leadership Program for his help with the 2010 conference.

A link to Dr. Tanner's page at the University of Georgia:

April 24, 2010

EDI Studio Presents to CREATE Foundation

Starting in January, 18 fourth-year architecture students and 16 interior design students began work on The Center for Professional Futures, an advanced professional school for high school students in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee counties. This state-of-the-art facility will be endowed by Toyota.

The architecture and interior design students, working collaboratively in the EDI studio, began their work by researching case studies of structural steel designs, sustainable or "green" interior spaces, and advanced schools. In February, they traveled to Frisco, Texas, to see the prototype for The Center for Professional Futures.

On Wednesday, April 21, the EDI studio presented nine different designs to the CREATE Foundation. The intent of the work was to build on the touchstone project (Frisco) and create a school that is both forward-thinking and appropriate for Mississippi.

The day after our presentation, the CREATE Foundation officially announced their plans for The Center for Professional Futures.

A link to NEMS360 (i.e. the Daily Journal's website):

A link to WTVA:

June 2, 2010

EDI Partners with MSCAT

EDI has joined forces with the Mississippi State Community Action Team (MSCAT) to better serve Mississippi's educators and communities.

Formed in 2006, "Mississippi State University's Community Action Team (MSCAT) is an initiative that forms the umbrella under which the expertise and resources of various disciplines at MSU are organized into specific teams to partner with communities to address local issues and plan for the future. As such, MSCAT is the catalyst for engaging various units of the university with other institutions and service providers in addressing community and regional issues from a holistic and collaborative perspective." (

Specifically, EDI stands ready to provide experience and expertise during and after MSCAT's First Impressions: Education program.

A link to First Impressions: Education

July 4, 2010

Mr. Morgan retires as EDI Director

Mr. Larry Morgan has retired as EDI Director, a decision which became effective at the end of the last fiscal year (June 30, 2010).

Joining EDI in January 2008, Mr. Morgan directed an expansion of EDI's outreach to school district officials, focusing on service projects which directly benefit local schools. EDI projects during Mr. Morgan's tenure include everything from facility surveys to classroom additions to district-wide master plans.

During the 2009-10 fiscal year, EDI served 15 school district clients and led the 2010 EDI Studio, which utilized the skills of 18 architecture students, 16 interior design students, and two instructors to provide nine preliminary designs for the Center for Professional Futures in Blue Springs, Miss. Moreover, Mr. Morgan and I attended a total of 10 education and design conferences and, in conjunction with Dr. Ed Davis, hosted the 2010 EDI Conference in Meridian, Miss.

Prior to joining EDI, Mr. Morgan served 39 years in education as a teacher, a principal, and -- for 10 years -- as superintendent of the Booneville School District.

Those who know Mr. Morgan will understand the sincerity of my saying that it has been a privilege to work with Mr. Morgan.

Chris Cosper, AIA
Assistant Director, EDI

August 24, 2010

Classroom Makeover Backed by Research

Although this article is authored by an employee of the groups discussed, it still warrants a look.

In my opinion, no classroom redesign is worth pursuing unless the teacher(s) buy in to the redesign. Otherwise, the end product is the same teaching style in a space often less suited for it.

From School Planning & Management:

October 12, 2010

EDI Saves District Money, Improves Design

Not a lot of money -- but today, every dollar counts.

EDI was asked by a school district to look at a proposed fence. The fence was needed to restrict access to a school yard from the food services department, which had recently moved to the campus.

EDI staff members analyzed the situation and recommended a magnetic lock and CCTV in lieu of the additional fence. Benefits of the proposed solution:

-- Better access control to the school
-- Better egress from the school in an emergency
-- No need to divide the school yard in two (as the fence would have)
-- Cost: $4,000 vs $12,000 for the fence

November 18, 2010

EDI Presents Paper at University of Oklahoma Forum

EDI presented the paper "The Client Based-Studio: Meeting Pedagogical Needs and Serving the Community" to the Creating_Making Forum at the University of Oklahoma on November 4.

Read the paper:

The Client-Based Studio

April 16, 2011

EDI Identifies HVAC Problem at Mississippi School

During a tour of a Mississippi elementary school, the EDI staff noticed that a clerestory window had been closed from below. School officials said that gypsum board around the window had deteriorated because of moisture in the cafeteria. The building was always humid, particularly after rain storms.

Using a sheet of notebook paper, the EDI staff were able to determine that the make-up air fan on the kitchen exhaust hood was not working. Thus, when the hood was on, the cafeteria was under negative pressure, which pulls hot, moist air into the building during late summer and early spring. With the problem identified, the school district was able to take corrective action (i.e. the make-up fan was repaired) and moisture problems have ceased.

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