The Next Wave

Gulf Shores City Schools launches collaborative master planning effort

The Gulf Shores Elementary School expansion renderings were presented to the Gulf Shores City Council by Superintendent Dr. Matt Akin.
The Gulf Shores Elementary School expansion renderings were presented to the Gulf Shores City Council by Superintendent Dr. Matt Akin.

Gulf Shores City Schools and the City of Gulf Shores are embarking upon The Next Wave – a master planning, programming and conceptual design process – that will shape the future of school facilities, curriculum and the community for generations to come.

The Next Wave is centered upon community involvement and the Gulf Shores City Board of Education's mission, "to provide engaging learning environments, rigorous academics, and to incorporate unique resources of our community to empower all students to achieve success."

“This project is about much more than just designing boxes and buildings to satisfy capacity,” said Superintendent Dr. Matt Akin. “Our collective vision for curriculum and instruction will lead the design decisions that are made. We are excited to have the freedom to think outside the box and begin designing facilities that align with our core values, embrace innovation and facilitate increased engagement for our students, teachers and community.”

The team leading The Next Wave's planning and development process is Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood (GMC) in partnership with DLR Group and WAV Architects. Gulf Shores City Schools has previously partnered    with GMC and WAV on other successful planning and construction projects, including the Gulf Shores Elementary School expansion and the new athletic center at Gulf Shores High School. DLR Group is considered a global leader in K-12 design and specializes in creating tailored educational facilities that provide immersive educational environments while meeting current and future capacity needs.

“This master plan is about charting a course toward the future for Gulf Shores City Schools. It’s the ‘next wave’ of what’s possible in education and educational facilities with the needs of students and teachers foremost in mind. We are at the beginning of a five-phase process and will need the community’s voice to be successful,” said DLR Group Principal Jason Lembke. “With your help, we’ll better understand your needs, ideas and ideals and align it with what’s possible and fiscally responsible. That’s how this plan will create value. For Gulf Shores and its community of learners, now is the time to work together toward your collective future in education and we certainly look forward to being a small part of that.”

The Next Wave will utilize DLR Group's community engagement process, which has delivered some of the very best in creative and innovative design solutions used in leading school systems across the world. The vision that will be developed through this community engagement process will directly result from collaboration with the educators, students and Gulf Shores residents.

“Our school system belongs to everyone in our community, and we want everyone to be a part of this exciting project to help us design the future of education in Gulf Shores,” said Mayor Robert Craft. “We all have a role to play in ensuring Gulf Shores City Schools are the best they can be.”

There will be multiple opportunities for community input and involvement throughout The Next Wave project. The first opportunity is by participating in the community input survey released Jan. 26. The purpose of the survey is to gather feedback from students, teachers, parents and residents on their relative knowledge of our schools today, but more importantly, their vision for the future of Gulf Shores City Schools. Residents signed up to receive email alerts from the City or school system should receive a link to take the survey via email. Anyone who does not receive an email notification may access the survey at All responses are requested to be submitted no later than Friday, February 5.

The Next Wave is scheduled to be completed by summer 2021. For more information about this project, please visit