CORVALLIS, Ore. - George Copa, a professor in the College of Education at Oregon State University and director of OSU's New Designs for Learning research initiative, was honored as the 2006 Planner of the Year by the Council of Educational Facility Planners, International.

Copa was honored at the organization's 83rd annual international conference in Phoenix. The council is a professional association of 3,000 architects and planners focused on educational facilities. The Planner of the Year award is the highest and most distinguished honor conferred by the council.

"I am heartened by the professional recognition of my efforts through the Planner of the Year Award by CEFPI," Copa said. "This is a highlight of my professional life and the event and recognition will be treasured for a lifetime."

The award is based, in part, on "positive and significant regional, national or international impact on educational facility planning."

"George Copa's research and on-the-ground experience with the design of new environments for learning is helping schools and students in meeting the many challenges of education," said Sam Stern, dean of the College of Education. "Not only has his work influenced the design of schools in many locations throughout the country, but he's also provided leadership for the design of our new high school here in Corvallis and the planning for the refurbishment of our beautiful 100-year-old Education Hall on OSU's campus."

As director of New Designs for Learning, Copa works with schools, colleges and state education agencies in the United States and internationally to assist with and facilitate educational design efforts for schools and colleges interested in major redesign, updating and revitalization.

"Educational facility design decisions have a significant effect on the culture, experience, and impact of learning enterprises - for both learners and those who facilitate learning," Copa said. "And because educational facilities usually last a long time, often upwards of 100 years or more, the effects are very long-term and have consequences for thousands of learners."

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George Copa,