Dan Spiry Retires After Career Dedicated to Education and a Beautiful Built Environment

Dan has applied his design leadership by engaging BVH’s governmental, education, and faith-based clients an after 44 years he is retiring beginning in 2021. What began as a first job out of college in 1976 turned into a career spent setting BVH on the path to success and a list of notable achievements across the state—particularly on buildings that helped grow our community’s youth. Dan’s eye for design across a variety of projects throughout his career has given life to many new parts of Nebraska, from the Haymarket Arena in Lincoln to the Nebraska State Fair Youth Complex. 

Dan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies in 1976 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and promptly began at BVH, a decision that would come to define his career. Through the years, Dan has volunteered his time to multiple committees through the AIA as well as working with student architects at his alma mater. He pursues clarity of design concepts in his projects that is translated in building plan and section organization, material logic, and a seamless integration of structural, mechanical, and lighting systems.  

Dan’s skills as a designer also helped shape what Lincoln Public Schools facilities look like today, with work on Pound Junior High School, Park Junior High School, Everett Elementary, Lux and Scott Middle Schools, and the joint venture of the LPS/Southeast Community College Career Academy. He was also instrumental in the design of the new “Zoo School” at the Lincoln’s Children’s Zoo, along with all the work that led to the expansion of the Lincoln Children’s Zoo into a year-round facility – and many parents and children will remember the times he talked about Buster and the tortoise exhibit!

His work extends beyond K-12 however, with projects at the University of Lincoln including the College of Architecture, Richards Hall, the Kauffman Center, and the Willa S. Cather Dining Complex, and masterplanning efforts across the Nebraska State College System. 

Dan’s early career was shaped by projects like the North Meadows Apartments, a humble, low-income housing project for the elderly that celebrated the community and dignity through the identity of every individual unit’s front porch and door. This project earned an AIA Nebraska Design Award but also served to demonstrate that good design and a smaller budget are not mutually exclusive—an ethos that still applies to BVH today.

Dan also has a passion for photography and art, both of which are demonstrated throughout his work over the years, from hand-drawn renders worthy of framing and perhaps most distinctively his photography.  

Dan’s passion for great design leaves a lasting legacy across the city of Lincoln and across Nebraska. We wish him many happy years pursuing his other joys in life and spending time with his family.