Creating Inspiring Environments for Learners of All Ages

With a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities facing educational institutions, we are committed to helping our clients create safe, sustainable and inspiring campuses. Offering a comprehensive range of civil/site development services, from initial planning and design through to construction observation and management, Benesch acts as a trusted advisor at every stage of a project.

Decades of experience have given our experts in-depth knowledge of the evolving trends, challenges and regulations impacting developments. Whether you need a master plan for a community college campus or the utility design for a middle school, we'll find the perfect solution.

Photo of Benesch's employee during a community workshop

Campus Solutions Driven by Your Stakeholders

Our context-sensitive site design approach takes into consideration the unique needs and characteristics of the staff and students, the surrounding natural and built environment, and the community. Through public engagement activities, such as town halls, surveys and awareness campaigns, we identify those elements that are most important to stakeholders. Our team of multidisciplinary professionals then work together to develop inclusive, sustainable solutions.

Photo of Smalley Elementary School in Connecticut

Keeping Students Safe Through Efficient Design

Safety and the security of students and staff remain paramount even while other design trends may change. From k-12 schools to higher education campuses, we understand how to tailor a site to meet the safety needs of each age group.

By analyzing the available land, we determine how to orient facilities to provide the safest and clearest paths connecting students to busses, cars, playgrounds and other campus facilities. Our traffic and safety experts use their knowledge of school practices and procedures to help traffic move in and out of schools safely and efficiently.

Connecting Students to the Natural & Built Environment

Finding harmony between the natural and built environment plays a major role in how we create welcoming campus environments where students want to learn, live and explore.

We recognize that the natural environment has the power to provide enhanced learning opportunities, increase environmental awareness among students and improve the well-being of students and staff. Once we fully understand the needs and goals for a campus, our experts will:

  • Work to identify existing natural features at the site that can be preserved and integrated into the design.
  • Design nature trails, gardens and outdoor classrooms that will facilitate learning opportunities.
  • Utilize techniques that minimize the development’s impact on the environment and protect any threatened/endangered species in the area.

The design of a campus also impacts how students and staff connect to their school, college or university. We’ll work with you to create spaces that make users feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves.

Photo of the baseball field at Cleveland Community College in North Carolina
Photo of the outside dining hall in Appalachian State University (ASU) in North Carolina

Visualizing Your Campus

Leveraging 3D design and visualization tools, our renderings, models and digital walkthroughs give you greater insight into how project elements will work together to create your campus and meet your goals. By utilizing them as a collaboration and educational tool, we’re able to engage and excite your community.

Rendering of Northfield Mount Hermon Campus in Connecticut

Fully Integrated Services Working Together to Make the Best Use of Your Campus

Photo of traffic and safety approach at Smalley Elementary School in Connecticut

Traffic & Safety

Careful attention needs to be paid to a campus’ traffic flow, access points and crosswalks. When planning for a new school or renovating an existing one, our traffic and safety experts will consider the site’s unique features and challenges, the behavioral habits of the intended users and the latest safety standards. This process enables us to find the best solutions for every project.

Photo of Smalley Elementary School in Connecticut

Civil Engineering

Often serving as a hub for community activity, schools need to be easily accessible via all modes of transportation. Adept at working with outside agencies, you can count on Benesch to seamlessly connect your campus to existing infrastructure. Our expertise in designing complete streets, complex intersections, lighting, multimodal roadways and more means that all of the site’s civil engineering needs can be met.

Utility design work at Holy Trinity Montessori School in Tennessee

Utility Design

In addition to helping to reduce energy costs, conserve water, and minimize waste, well-designed utilities contribute to creating more comfortable, sustainable and productive environments for students and staff. Combining advanced modeling capabilities with tried-and-true methods, we can design efficient design systems for all your water resources and gas and electric utilities.

Photo of the University of North Carolina entrance sign

Landscape Architecture

More goes into creating a successful outdoor space than a few well-placed trees. Our landscape architects understand the complexities of turning a transforming a site into an environment that facilitates learning and play. Taking into consideration the age of students, safety needs and budget constraints, we create successful outdoor classes, play spaces, sports complexes and more that are tailored to your goals and create a desired sense of place.

Site plan illustration of Madison Elementary School in Connecticut

Site Design

Preparing a site to be a functional, healthy space for learners requires the careful planning and implementation of grading, drainage, erosion and sediment control measures. This work is vital for the safety of both the public and the environment. Supported by our geotechnical staff, we will determine changes needed to existing topography, address drainage issues, and identify erosion and sediment control measures.

Winthrop University Campus Center construction in North Carolina


With extensive experience and knowledge of both local and federal regulations, our experts can assist with site development, storm water management, wetland and environmental impact permitting process. Benesch has a reputation for delivering quality work that is appreciated by governing agencies and often results in a more streamlined approval process.

Expertise That Keeps Your Projects Moving

Our licensed professionals understand the unique regulations and processes involved both in developing new school sites and improving existing ones. We’re experts in:

Budgets, schedules and goals can quickly evolve in the education space. Our experts are flexible enough to adapt at a moment’s notice and are always considering budget implications and ways to mitigate changing costs. From day one, we will provide realistic project cost projections. As the project progresses, we’ll offer updated projections to reflect alternative design options.

We also weave value methodology techniques into our work to identify innovative, value-focused solutions for our clients. From value analysis, planning and engineering to cost management and Life-Cycle Cost Analysis, we use a wide range of techniques to help you save money, plan for unknowns, sharpen project schedules and develop innovative ways to manage long-term maintenance costs.

Adherence to the IBC is not just a matter of compliance; it is fundamental to ensuring the safety and longevity of structures. Our deep understanding of the IBC allows us to navigate complex codes, conduct rigorous assessments, and develop innovative solutions that not only meet legal requirements but also promote best practices. This expertise also contributes to efficient project management, helps prevent costly delays and revisions, and ultimately fosters trust among clients and stakeholders by demonstrating a commitment to the highest standards of safety and quality.

By being well-versed in the intricacies of the various permitting agencies and their requirements, we can anticipate potential challenges, address them in advance, and streamline the approval timeline. This saves valuable time and resources while ensuring compliance but expediency.

Environmental regulations have the potential to influence decisions related to land use, resource management and ecological preservation. With these regulations’ tendency to shift with changes in administration and evolving environmental concerns, Benesch is committed to staying well informed and adaptable. This enables us to not only mitigate risks but also seize opportunities to integrate innovative, eco-friendly solutions that align with the most current environmental standards.