BSHM Turns Challenges into Opportunities

By Byron Manchester
President/CEO, BSHM Architects

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – This year, BSHM Architects Inc. celebrates 60 years of practice. We owe a grand nod of appreciation to Robert Buchanan, Paul Ricciuti, Gary Balog and Brett Hendricks for their many years of dedication to the art and business of architecture.

The firm maintains a history of growth, momentum and agility as we endeavor with passion, welcome collaboration and embrace technology. The current BSHM team is dedicated to advocating for our clients, exploring new resources and tools, and capitalizing on leadership roles within our profession.

Challenges created by the pandemic springboarded us into the investment of powerful communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams, mobile hardware and flexible work policies. The use of Autodesk BIM 360, a cloud-based construction management tool, has allowed for increased efficiency to more quickly expedite construction documents to maintain our integrity and alleviate potential construction industry pandemic pitfalls, such as supply-chain disruptions.

BSHM has received recognition of recent works and numerous new commissions for 2022.

The 2021 AIA Youngstown Design Awards brought an award for The University of Akron Institute for Human Science & Culture project. This 11,000-square-foot renovation transformed a 1915 commercial building into state-of-the-art storage, museum galleries, classrooms, library, offices and support spaces. Additionally, the Handshake of the Century statue environment project in downtown Youngstown received an honorable mention.

Other notable works include the completed Licking Heights High School in central Ohio, renovations of Anna Elementary and Middle/High schools in western Ohio, the near completion of Firelands High School, and Berkshire K-12 situated on the Kent State Geauga campus.

On the boards now are projects for the College of Wooster, Muskingum University, and the new Quaker Valley High School in Sewickley, Pa. With the acquisition of this project, we are poised to generate a strong presence in the Pennsylvania K-12 sector. This is a collaborative effort with Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects of Pittsburgh.

The pandemic’s challenges to the learning environments we design have required new and creative responses. Because BSHM is recognized for our innovative outdoor learning spaces, the flexible nature of our school designs, and HVAC improvement technology, opportunities have blossomed. While sanitary materials and adjustable furnishings were considerations in the past, they are now at the forefront of our designs.

BSHM is recognized by the United Green Building Council as an exemplary firm for our sustainable architecture. This is a commitment from the individual to the institutional level and will remain a core aspect of our practice.

Our firm leadership extends beyond our business as multiple members will be serving as leaders for our profession’s regional and state chapters of the American Institute of Architects  and beyond. We are proud to support Jay Crafton as director and Mike Ruscitti as secretary of AIA Youngstown, while John Orsini is the president-elect for AIA Ohio and Mike Vala finished his term as president of AIA Columbus in 2021 and is now the treasurer for the Columbus Center for Architecture and Design.

 2021 was not easy for any business. We were fortunate to be considered an essential business for the construction of schools, even as staff stability was a constant concern. Any success achieved in the past 24 months can only be attributed to the individuals who made the regular decisions to face the challenges as they came and contribute to the group’s collective goals. At BSHM, we’ve had 60 years of such determination and dedication to our profession, and plan for another 60 years of the same.