Biz Look: Kerr 3 Architects
“The Studio” at Summit Middle School is a reimagined classroom space that came about from a passion for Edmond Public Schools and appreciation for teachers. The school received a bond to purchase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) equipment, but they faced the challenge of making it work in a defunct computer lab. Kim Kerr, 2018-2019 Summit Teacher of the Year, sat on the STEM classroom committee and told her husband, James Kerr IV, about the project.
A Passion Project
James was inspired by his wife’s passion and decided to step in, turning the defunct computer lab into an open format classroom now known as “The Studio.” He and his father’s architecture company Kerr 3 Architects and their construction arm, Red Sky Constructors, transformed the conventional classroom into a STEM studio. Principal Lisa Adams is thankful for the adaptable classroom. She says, “The furniture and tables can be pushed aside, leaving lots of space for collaborative work.” The ceiling of “The Studio” is raised and designed with an open format that fosters creativity.
A Family Business
James Kerr III “Terry” founded Kerr 3, and began working in Edmond in 1978. Many changes and projects later, roles have changed. James Kerr IV has taken on a leadership role as Terry enjoys the opportunity to focus on specific projects. James has deep roots in Edmond; his family moved to the city in 1977, his second grade year. James completed his education in Edmond schools and two of his children have graduated from the system with a third graduating in 2021.
James expresses gratitude for the opportunity of working with his dad, and tells of his patience: “When he hired me, I had been out of college for about three years and was pretty sure I knew everything. I once deleted an entire project from our server – so it turned out, I didn’t know quite everything.” His father, Terry, built a place where James could learn. A safe place to make mistakes and get creative. The environment Terry built for his son is similar to what Kerr3 and Red Sky do everyday. A large portion of the firm’s work is focused on design and construction of educational facilities across Oklahoma.