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Esterly Schneider takes detail-oriented approach

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by Ann Bucy

SBJ Contributing Writer

Deac Esterly began what is now known as Esterly Schneider & Associates back in 1947. In 1962, Mary Arnold joined the firm, and in 1979 Craig Schneider signed on. Then, in 1985, the trio formed a partnership. Three years later, Esterly died, and now Arnold and Schneider are shareholders in the corporation. There are seven employees in the company. Arnold is the office manager, there's one secretary and five people in the design studio, including Schneider.

Most of the buildings the firm designs are health care facilities, like nursing homes, doctors' clinics and hospitals, and financial services structures, including savings and loans, banks and insurance offices. The company is licensed to do business in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

"We pretty much do business within a 200-mile radius of Springfield," Schneider said.

The architectural process begins when the architect sits down and interviews the client to determine the client's needs and to get an idea of how the facility will operate. Sometimes the architect will visit the existing site to see how the day-to-day operations are run. Next a schematic plan (a conceptual design) is laid out, then continuously fine-tuned.

Esterly Schneider is working on a 10-doctor clinic under construction in Rolla, a series of clinics for the Phelps County Hospital, also in Rolla, clinics for the Baxter County Hospital in Arkansas, the expansion of the Ozark Bank in Ozark, maintenance and repair work for the Springfield R-12 school system, a bank under construction at the Lake of the Ozarks, and a number of Burger King projects, two under construction in Springfield and Sedalia, and four others in the design stage in Monett, Nixa, Miami, Okla., and Nevada. Schneider said he believes there's room for growth in the field of architecture. "We're constantly looking for more people in our office," he said. "There's a lot of work out there to be done. There's definitely room for more people."

He attributes the labor shortage to college students not staying in the Midwest after graduation. "A lot of them are headed for the coast in one direction or another," he said. "I believe there's a lot of opportunity in a small to mid-size firm: a wider range of knowledge."

Schneider said there are several things architects have to keep up with in their ever-changing field. "There are a lot of technical changes in energy conservation," Schneider said. "This means that there are always new ways to design a building that will function more efficiently. We also have to keep up with the materials and technology that keep coming out and how to use them."

"We're a very detail-oriented firm as far as our drawings and specifications are concerned," Arnold said.

Melissa Higbie, an associate with the firm, agreed. "Being detail-oriented is what we pride ourselves on," she said. "Our clients appreciate the fact that we go to a lot of extra effort."

PHOTO CAPTION:

From left, Craig Schneider, Mary Arnold and Melissa Higbie look at design plans at the Esterly Schneider office.[[In-content Ad]]

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