DMZ Planners, LLC, the firm dedicated to Campus Master Planning and Programming, was founded by Donna Zalecky in Fall 2017 as a campus master planning firm to support, collaborate, and consult with educational institutions and architectural teams. Artist Chuck Close and Author Daniel Pink speak of seeking to become “Problem Finders” rather than “Problem Solvers”. At DMZ, LLC we embrace this philosophy whole-heartedly. We seek to understand your entire campus – at all scales – and we utilize a variety campus data sets and information to understand the simultaneous relationships of individual rooms, buildings, site and regional context. We seek to identify and re-frame needs and priorities at a variety of scales that will respond to your campus’s unique culture, programs and sense of place.
Our firm’s logo was carefully crafted to convey the variety of scales associated with our interpretation of campus planning. First we examine where the campus sits within the region, seeking to understand the role of the neighbors, roadways and the greater regional environmental context. We study the campus site, the relationships of the buildings to each other and to open spaces around them. Simultaneously, within the buildings themselves, we examine the sizes and interrelationships of the internal spaces and their functions as well as the corridors and gathering areas serving each building.
Donna Zalecky’s professional experience during the past 25+ years has focused on educational facilities planning for higher education institutions and PreK-12 international schools. Her work experience includes data gathering, consensus-building exercises and workshops, space utilization and allocation studies, architectural building programming, site analysis, site planning concepts, implementation phasing plans and report-writing. Campus clients include approximately 50 educational institutions fairly equally split between higher ed campuses and PreK-12 international schools. During the past 25+ years, Donna worked for firms such as H2L2 Architects/Planners, NELSON, Sightlines and WRT. Each of these firms provided uniquely valuable and relevant campus planning experiences. In Fall 2017, Donna started DMZ Planners, LLC with the intention to continue to support and collaborate with educational institutions and architectural teams in campus planning and programming pursuits.
Over the years, Donna has had a number of opportunities to speak at various educational conferences including AAIE, AASSA, Tri-Association, ELMLE, MAIS, SCUP, ERAPPA and EACUBO. At each presentation, she shares findings regarding campus planning work and on-going planning and design research. SCUP (Society for College and University Planning) is a key professional society for higher ed planning; Donna enjoys attending their conferences and for the past eight years she has served on the SCUP Facilities Planning Academy as a reviewer for annual international conference proposals. She was also the invited keynote speaker at the July 2018 AASSA Conference for Business Managers.
As a licensed planner and landscape architect, Donna has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Binghamton University in NY and a Master of Landscape Architecture from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
DMZ Planners, LLC provides campus master planning and programming services for PreK-12 and higher education clients. Prior to establishing DMZ Planners, Donna served as project manager and/or project planner and programmer for numerous educational clients during a period of more than twenty-five years. Below is Donna Zalecky’s selected list of clients served.
Note: Projects with an asterisk (*) were completed by Donna Zalecky as Project Manager and/or Project Planner, prior to the establishment of DMZ Planners, LLC.