Firm Celebrates 65th Anniversary with Community Donations

To commemorate its 65th year in business, O’Connell Robertson will make donations totaling $6,500 to three representative education and healthcare organizations in honor of all its clients and employees. As part of a staff anniversary celebration on October 23, each employee received $65 in “corporate cash” to allocate as they wished among the three representative client organizations. The Firm will match the amount delegated and present the donations to each organization in the coming weeks.

“For 65 years, O’Connell Robertson has applied a mission-driven approach to design that focuses on the purpose each facility serves,” stated Rick Burnight, AIA, ACHA, the firm’s president/CEO. “Our success is not possible without our employees’ dedication to serving our clients. With that in mind, it was natural to celebrate the Firm’s anniversary by involving our employees in supporting client organizations whose mission is making a difference in our community.”

The three organizations selected to receive the anniversary donations represent the healthcare, higher education and PreK-12 markets the Firm specializes in serving.

The Seton Fund is a nonprofit foundation that supports the mission of the Seton Healthcare Family. Seton has been an O’Connell Robertson client for over 40 years, beginning with the Firm’s design of an expansion of the original Brackenridge Hospital in 1975 and including the renovation of the Brackenridge Emergency Department in 2007 to support the hospital’s successful pursuit of Level 1 Trauma status. Contributions will support the new Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.

Alamo Colleges Foundation seeks to award scholarships to every eligible student who applies for one. The Foundation supports Alamo Colleges’ efforts to help students succeed in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in today’s world. Since beginning the relationship in 2004, O’Connell Robertson has completed more than 250 projects on all five of the Alamo Colleges campuses. For the past two years, O’Connell Robertson has collaborated with the Alamo Colleges Foundation to host and coordinate a Job Shadow Day for San Antonio College architecture and engineering students.

The Sally & Mack Brown Rise School of Austin is dedicated to early education of children with and without disabilities. Rise enrolls about 60% students with Down syndrome and other developmental differences and 40% traditional-learners, providing an inclusive setting, where individualized learning techniques enable every child to achieve their maximum potential. The Rise School does not receive any government support and provides significant tuition discounts for two-thirds of its families. In 2011, O’Connell Robertson began working with Rise to design a new school that provides a custom setting for their educational model. This fall, the Sally & Mack Brown Rise School of Austin was one of just five projects that earned a Citation of Excellence Award for outstanding educational facility design in Learning by Design, a national publication that showcases innovative school design and construction projects.

Firm History: O’Connell Robertson was established in Austin in 1950 by William A. O’Connell, AIA, the first architect for the Texas Department of Health. More than 50 years ago, the Firm expanded its specialization beyond healthcare to include the planning and design of K-12 and higher education facilities. In 1978, Noel Robertson joined O’Connell’s firm to add mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering services. In addition to celebrating 65 years in business, 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of the opening of the firm’s San Antonio office. O’Connell Robertson has evolved and grown over the years, with more than 50 employees in two offices now providing comprehensive architecture, interior design, MEP engineering, commissioning, sustainable design, and bond planning and communication services.

Healthcare: Over the years, the firm has completed over 1,000 healthcare projects statewide for more than 40 clients, including the Seton Healthcare Family, Central Health, Metroplex Adventist Health System, Shannon Health System, University Health System and Otto Kaiser Community Hospital.

Projects include an emergency department renovation for University Medical Center Brackenridge; the Central Health Southeast Health and Wellness Center; the new Faith Community Hospital in Jacksboro; the Texas Center for Infectious Disease Hospital in San Antonio; and Otto Kaiser Regional Hospital and Wellness Center in Kenedy. The firm has completed a variety of new construction and renovation projects, including hospitals, clinics, outpatient facilities, imaging centers, surgical suites, cancer centers, women’s centers, wellness centers, labs, and medical office buildings.

Education: The firm has assisted more than 25 school districts throughout Texas with multi-phased master plans and renovations, new school designs, comprehensive school engineering replacements, and bond planning and communications. Recent projects include high schools in Round Rock, Jarrell and Lampasas ISDs; middle schools for Jarrell and Comal ISDs; new elementary schools in Del Valle, Leander, and Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISDs; and renovations and repurposing campuses in Austin, Wimberley, San Antonio and North East ISDs.

Higher education clients include The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas State University, Texas Tech Health Science Center, Austin Community College, Alamo Colleges and Temple College. The firm has planned and designed renovations, expansions and new academic facilities, including UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center on the J.J. Pickle Research Campus, the San Antonio College Nursing and Allied Health Complex, Alamo Colleges’ Eco Centro, ACC’s new Elgin Campus, Texas State University Bobcat Stadium, and engineering for UT’s Darrel K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium.