Tuskegee, Alabama — Tuskegee University’s Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science is partnering with the National Football League (NFL) to design an innovative, state-of-the-art, fictional football stadium.
“This is the first time the NFL has utilized architecture and construction science students in this way,” said Walter P. Cooper Sr., Director of Career Education/Leadership Development Center. “They see the connections between engaging students at the collegiate level and allowing them to explore future career opportunities with the NFL.”
The partnership is a multi-disciplinary initiative that is creating opportunities for students in several schools.
“To conform to the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation criteria, we will use this project in the 4th-year and 5th-year architecture studios to design an NFL Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama,” said Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, dean of the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science. “For this project, we will target two student criteria – Design and Leadership and Collaboration – during the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters.”
In Professors Roderick Fluker’s and Vicki Carter’s studios, the students will focus specifically on designing better, safer, more equitable, resilient, and sustainable built environments and will practice design as a collaborative, inclusive, creative, and empathetic enterprise with other disciplines, the communities they serve, and the clients for whom they work, Dr. Bell said. Professor Harold Kippy Tate will serve as the construction science faculty lead on this project.
Arthur McAfee III, Senior Vice President of Football Operations, said the project was developed from discussions around Hall of Famers and their experiences as student-athletes.
“To support their institutions, we started doing work with HBCU conferences,” he said. “With football, comes student-athletes, the band, and players. What’s a better way to continue to highlight on-the-field activities, than off the field? We have several initiatives where we introduce career opportunities.”
McAfee said typically the NFL works with three or four institutions around the country to answer a particular question. This year, they worked on a question as if they were going to hire people to design a stadium, with a focus on the fan experience, the player experience, architectural design, engineering, construction, and a business pitch to sell the project.
“We picked Birmingham because there is no professional team there. The Commanders in D.C. are also looking for a new site,” he said.
“Partnering with organizations like the NFL prepares our students for real-world problem-solving that allows them to use the skills they’ve learned in the classroom in meaningful ways,” said Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, President of Tuskegee. “I am proud to know that our programs continue to garner the respect and attention of organizations like the NFL in ways that our students see a direct benefit. I am looking forward to seeing what they develop.”
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