Tuskegee University's Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science has teamed up with the National Football League (NFL) to design a fictional football stadium, per a statement released by the institution. This partnership provides diverse opportunities for students from different departments, including Architecture and Construction Science, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Business and Information Sciences.
“This is the first time the NFL has utilized architecture and construction science students in this way,” Walter P. Cooper Sr., Director of Career Education/Leadership Development Center said in the release. “They see the connections between engaging students at the collegiate level and allowing them to explore future career opportunities with the NFL.”
Under the guidance of Professors Roderick Fluker and Vicki Carter, students will focus their efforts on creating better, safer, more equitable, resilient, and sustainable built environments. This collaborative endeavor will involve working closely with other disciplines, the communities they serve, and the clients they aim to satisfy. Dr. Bell, a key figure in the project, emphasizes the importance of design as a collective and empathetic enterprise.
Dr. Carla Jackson Bell, dean of the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science, said of the project, “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. For this project, we will target two student criteria – Design and Leadership and Collaboration – during the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters.”
Overseeing the construction science aspect of this venture is Professor Harold Kippy Tate, who will serve as the faculty lead. Arthur McAfee III, Senior Vice President of Football Operations, reveals that this project stemmed from discussions centered around Hall of Famers and their experiences as student-athletes.
“To support their institutions, we started doing work with HBCU conferences. 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.”
Per comments by McAfee, the NFL usually collaborates with several institutions nationwide to answer a specific question. However, this year, the focus was creating a scenario where they were hiring people to design a stadium emphasizing enhancing the fan and player experiences, architectural design, engineering, construction, and a compelling business pitch to promote the project.
Tuskegee University president Dr. Charlotte P. Morris is excited about the partnership and the experience it gives students. “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. 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.”