Meet the Architects

Earlier this year, Fanning Howey Associates’ CEO Bill Payne and Principal Chuck Tyler invited us to get to know them a little better.

Your roots to the Midwest are strong. Who is Fanning Howey Associates?


We started in the late 1960s as a small engineering firm in northwestern Ohio. In 1976, Fanning Howey merged with a northern Indiana firm. Over time, the company grew from a 30-person practice into one of the nation’s largest architectural/engineering firms with offices throughout the United States. Today, we are a leader in the planning and design of learning environments and facilities that serve people of all ages. Led by the example of our founders, we strengthen connections within communities by creating vibrant places that reflect and embrace a sense of shared vision and purpose.


What excites you most about the WCCS project?


The WCCS Board of School Trustees has set a vision for the future—and the new high school project is a key element in that vision. This isn’t about maintaining the status quo; it’s about giving the students and teachers new tools with which to improve educational outcomes. The new high school will help students compete across Indiana and beyond. We’ve been asked to create a world-class learning environment…and that’s pretty exciting.


You are widely recognized as experts in the design of school buildings. What is it about working with learning environments that you like?


We believe strongly in our public education system. Schools contribute to the success of our students which then contributes to the success of our communities and our nation. Our firm’s mission statement is to “produce a legacy of quality educational facilities that serve the students of tomorrow”. This is the kind of work you can feel good about when you go home at the end of the day.


What unique thing about Columbia City and WCCS have your learned?


WCCS is a consolidation of several township schools. We are just beginning to learn about that history. We believe that the legacy of hard work, commitment and the spirit of a community are integral to the design of a school building.



Why was it important for the community to have input in the planning stages of the new high school?


Schools are community facilities more so today than ever before. We specifically design new schools to better facilitate its use by the community before and after the school day. Many community groups can take advantage of the resources which exist in our schools—resources that may not exist anywhere else in the community.


That speaks to the functional side. Just as important, maybe even more important, is the need for the new school to reflect the values of the community. Schools are symbols of our civic responsibility and the importance we place on education. They reflect both the community’s past and its aspirations for the future. Community involvement is essential to make sure we get it right.


Did you learn what you’d hoped from the community?


We wanted to hear what the new high school facility can do to better serve the community, and we weren’t disappointed. It’s amazing what an extra-wide door here or some storage there can do to make the day-to-day functions at the school easier for those who contribute to the school’s programs. Moving forward, the community should always feel welcome and supported in whatever manner they are involved with the schools; as teachers; as administrators, as family members; as volunteers, as spectators; or as staff members. If we continue to listen, we’ll hear how to better serve everyone’s needs.


What do you want us to know about you?


Chuck tells us, “Bill is city kid from the east side of Indianapolis. His mom taught for the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township for many years. He’s a graduate of Warren Central High School and completed his architectural degree at Ball State University. I grew up across the railroad tracks from the grain elevator in Hortonville, Indiana. I’m a graduate of Westfield high school and received my architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati. We’ve been working together for 24 years and are extremely excited to be working for the district and embarking on this new high school project together.