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Campus Planner / Architect

  • Industry: Facilities Management
  • Location: Exeter, NH
  • Client: Institution - Independent School
  • Search ID: 17-1104-12
Phillips Exeter Academy, a prominent independent school, has retained Helbling to conduct an executive search to secure a Campus Planner/Architect. Reporting to the Director of Facilities Management, the Campus Planner/Architect will lead, promote, and direct a comprehensive, core functional facilities areas of campus planning and design. This position will contribute significantly to the overall direction of architectural design, campus planning, landscape architecture, and capital planning. 
As a key steward of the Academy’s facilities, the Campus Planner/Architect is responsible for guidance of architectural designs, the selection of architectural consultants, project programming, and early design of capital projects. The Campus Planner/Architect will lead initiatives to meet the long-range, functional, and aesthetic goals of the Academy. The Campus Planner/Architect will have a high degree of accountability with regard to the relationships of the five key constituencies: campus unit partners, the Academy, staff, colleagues, and external agencies. The role will represent the Academy’s interests in facility matters with senior administrators, the Board of Trustees, local officials, faculty, and others.
The Campus Planner/Architect is expected to be highly credible and able to inform the Director of Facilities Management, administration, campus community, as well as the Trustees, on sensitive design matters and to build consensus.  He/she will adjust to changing needs of programs by translating programmatic needs into physical space with a sensitivity to adaptive reuse of historic buildings, historic preservation, aesthetically pleasing grounds and greenspaces, and focusing on the campus as a place for students to study and learn.
Key Accountabilities:


  • Plans, directs, and provides design guidance to building projects, campus master planning efforts, and capital planning.
  • Organizes and leads steering committees comprised of stakeholders for major capital projects.
  • Manages programming and early design phases for variety of capital projects and campus initiatives.
  • Works closely with the Director of Facilities Management to ensure that design and planning solutions are in concert. 
  • Meets frequently with Academy stakeholders to understand and assist in their facility planning and design needs, and assists in soliciting and organizing stakeholder input.
  • Supports the fundraising efforts of the Academy by preparing and presenting capital project plans to current and potential donors.
  • Leads the architect selection process for the Academy including pre-qualification, establishing selection criteria, interview, and evaluation. Promotes the selection of firms that will bring distinguished architecture to the Academy.
  • Provides leadership and guidance to the Academy in developing high performance standards, and advocating for designs that are sustainable with energy efficiency goals in support of the Academy’s sustainability initiatives.
  • Develops creative solutions, anticipating and solving problems with a focus on continuous improvement.
  • Provides creative problem resolution in the implementation of best practices in directing, planning, developing, and delivering services to the Academy.
  • Provides analytical support for critical questions involving potential growth of the campus (i.e., the impact of growth on necessary facilities).
  • Utilizes expertise and data to support decisions regarding allocation of space, facility management, program planning, and other needs.
  • Responsible for Academy-wide space management and utilization, and real estate management including acquisitions and distributions.
  • Responsible for the development, management, and compliance with the Academy’s design and construction standards.
  • Develops effective working relationships with members of an increasingly diverse community, including students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, trustees, donors, and business partners.
  • Maintains effective relationships with professional colleagues at similar institutions to keep abreast of market developments and best-practices.
  • Attends meetings, functions, and job related training as required.
  • Fulfills all other functions at the request of the Director of Facilities Management or Chief Financial Officer.

About Phillips Exeter:

Phillips Exeter Academy is a co-educational residential school serving 1,000 students in grades 9 through 12, and post-graduate level. Founded in 1781 by John Phillips, Exeter has a tradition of academic excellence, a distinguished faculty, and a long history of educating young people to find their place in the world.

Phillips Exeter Academy, frequently regarded the #1 private high school in America, has educated some of the most powerful people in history. Its alumni base includes nineteen (19) state governors, five (5) United States senators, five (5) Olympic athletes, two (2) Nobel Prize winners, and even technology moguls like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Quora founder Adam D'Angelo. Many millionaires and a handful of billionaires are products of the Exeter community and have helped grow the school's endowment to $1.2 billion.


Phillips Exeter Academy is located in Exeter, a southern New Hampshire town which retains its 18th-century New England charm. The in-town campus is divided by the three principal streets of the community, with Georgian-style classroom buildings placed prominently at the center. The surrounding dormitories are easily accessible from classrooms and other facilities, including an administrative building, post office, library, art gallery, music center, health center, bookstore, academy center, theater, dining halls, and athletic facility. 

Exeter is a walkable, historical town. Buildings and sites within the town represent the best of the past and present of the seacoast area, New Hampshire, and the country as a whole. Exeter is home to many recreational areas and parks, and has numerous indoor and outdoor activities for families. Important town landmarks, like Swasey Parkway, the Town Hall, Ladd Gilman House, Folsom Tavern, and the American Independence Museum, are great places to visit.

Exeter is 20 minutes from Historic Portsmouth, NH and 45 minutes from Boston, MA, providing endless cultural and recreational opportunities.

Helpful Links:

Phillips Exeter Academy:

South Campus Renewal: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture.
  • Professional license in architecture in the State of New Hampshire or reciprocity for licensure within six months of hire date with a minimum of ten (10) years’ of related experience required.
  • Significant experience in facility project and design management.
  • Successful managerial and leadership experience is required; a well-developed maturity in decision processes and leading / managing diverse teams with conflicting needs or requirements is required; flexible and collaborative leadership style.
  • Ability to operate effectively in a diverse and inclusive environment with sensitivity to controversial issues required.
  • Strong presentation and publication skills.
  • Professional credibility and the ability to build consensus around controversial issues is required.
  • This position requires a visionary person who is able to develop innovative approaches to project design issues.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, Email, AutoCAD, and the internet.  
  • Successfully complete a criminal background check (reviewed every 2 years).  
  • Clean Driving record (reviewed annually).
  • Must consistently wear assigned uniform and equipment and adhere to the appearance guidelines. 
  • Must abide by all guidelines as listed in the general orders. 
  • Must complete a harassment prevention seminar and boundary training seminar within 30 days of employment.


  • Master’s Degree from an accredited institution in Engineering, Campus Planning, Architecture, Construction, or Facilities Management.
  • Certification through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) or the Society for College and Academy Planning (SCUP).
  • LEED Accredited Professional.
  • Experience with adaptive reuse of historic buildings highly desired.

Search Consultants: Joe Wargo and Rick Nawoczynski

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