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Designing schools in remote Alaska

New schools in rural Alaska are the center of community. How does village life inspire architect Dale Smythe when it’s time to design?

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<p>My name is Dale Smythe I'm a project architect and project manager for Stantec in our Anchorage office.</p> <p>For the last 10 years, I've had the privilege of working on some of our rural Alaska schools. These are projects in Yupik Alaska villages in western Alaska.</p> <p>Getting to these sites takes a lot of steps. [00:02:00] It really can't be done in a day trip typically. We're leaving Anchorage early in the morning on a twin engine prop plane, a couple hours in the air, then land out of the hub communities Bethel or Dillingham, several thousand people. Then, a single engine prop plane to a gravel runway where you unload your gear that you travel with, and then typically take a 4-wheeler ride over to the school site, to the project site.</p> <p>These are K through 12 schools. They actually are really the community center of these villages. They serve as much more than just the school.</p> <p>Through working in this part of Alaska, probably had the chance to visit nearly 20 villages, worked in half a dozen of them on major projects and more on minor things. it gives me this inspiration for self-sufficiency and an understanding of your environment, and survival not through fighting it but survival through harmony with your surroundings.</p>

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