SmithGroup, one of the nation’s largest integrated design firms, has hired Doug Barraza, AIA, as a principal and recreation & wellness leader. In partnership with Clint Menefee, AIA, leader of the Higher Education studio in SmithGroup’s Dallas office and the firm’s national recreation and wellness leader, Barraza will enhance the firm’s position as a national leader in collegiate recreation facilities and encourage growth into related markets including student wellness, performance and athletics facilities nationwide.
He brings more than 30 years of experience in high-profile recreation projects including campus recreation & wellness centers, collegiate sports venues and athletic training facilities across the U.S. and internationally.
Barraza comes to SmithGroup from the Kansas City office of Populous, where he served as a principal and a market leader for Collegiate Sports & Recreation. His focus on building long-lasting relationships, ability to communicate effectively across disciplines and passion for health and wellness have resulted in innovative solutions for higher education clients, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Auburn University, Louisiana State University and Utah State University.
In his new position at SmithGroup, Barraza will serve as a project leader and mentor to teams engaged in programming, planning and designing higher education wellness and athletic projects across the country.
“Our team leads the design of engaging facilities that attract students and support their health, wellbeing and performance,” says Menefee. “Doug is a passionate partner whose expertise elevates the student experience through facilities that inspire students to be their best selves.”
Barraza will collaborate with experts from across SmithGroup’s national Higher Education Practice. Directed by Chris Purdy, AIA, this group has delivered vibrant, award-winning planning and design for over 500 higher education clients, including the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Western Michigan University. Recent recreation and wellness projects include the University of Houston-Clear Lake Recreation and Wellness Center and the Lola and Rob Salazar Wellness Center at University of Colorado at Denver.
Barraza earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas-Lawrence including graduate studies in historic preservation at Castello di Spannocchia in Tuscany, Italy. He is an active member of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.
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