Announcing Hollis + Miller’s First Higher Education Learnscape
Posted on May 26, 2022
By Hollis + Miller Architects

This year marks Hollis + Miller Architects’ (HMA) 10th consecutive year of designing and donating an outdoor Learnscape, and we are honored to gift the 2022 learning environment to Metropolitan Community College’s (MCC) Penn Valley Campus. As the first higher education recipient, our team of emerging professionals is embracing new challenges to think outside the box while working with MCC to design a space supporting lifelong learners.

Learnscape is HMA’s annual philanthropic effort led by our Emerging Professionals to design and build an outdoor environment for a Kansas City metro-area educational institution. Each specialized learning environment provides students an outdoor space to call their own to connect with nature. In the past, Learnscapes have been designed on elementary and secondary school sites. This year, the selected site will serve a wider range of students and the design will be tailored to the specific needs of MCC’s students and organizations, encouraging new student behaviors on campus and place for peers to meet.

MCC’s Penn Valley Campus is home to a variety of programs and serves both traditional and non-traditional students. The multi-block campus is used at all hours of the day, so a central site will be chosen to best serve the student community. The team of Emerging Professionals at Hollis + Miller is spearheading the effort throughout the course of the summer, working together with MCC stakeholders, consultants, contractors and HMA staff to bring the new environment to life. HMA employees will dig in and set to work building the new learning environment at the end of the summer.

The Learnscape program began as an opportunity for Hollis + Miller to combine its expertise as an architecture firm dedicated to designing innovative learning environments and its passion for the community in a way that can make a difference. Previously, the firm has designed and built outdoor classrooms for the Olathe, Blue Springs, North Kansas City, Shawnee Mission, Grain Valley, Raytown, Liberty and Park Hill school districts.

“We are so excited to continue our partnership with MCC and directly impact students’ well-being,” Client Leader Albert Ray said. “Outdoor environments give students’ minds a break from daily stressors and also provides a space to gather with peers or study individually while taking in the fresh air and natural connections. It is rewarding to fulfill MCC’s desire to engage the community through built gestures enriching the city and its residents.”

Each year’s Learnscape is brought to life by many hours of hard work and donations from stakeholders and community members. Direct collaboration with students, staff and community members leads to an outstanding outdoor classroom setting, and we are looking forward to continuing this collaborative process with MCC in 2022.

If you are interested in assisting being a part of this year’s Learnscape effort, please contact our team at

Announcing Hollis + Miller’s First Higher Education Learnscape