Like desert sage, RAFI’s roots are deep in problem solving for clients across the Intermountain West. With corporate offices in Henderson, Nevada, RAFI goes wherever our clients need us - anywhere.
In 1964, at 14 months of age, Laura Jane Spina, RID, RAFI’s current president and CEO moved to Las Vegas, Nevada with her parents for one year. Her father had been engaged to provide construction oversight management for the redevelopment of the Golden Gate Casino and Sal Sagev Hotel downtown for the property’s owner. The project included constructing the 4 story hotel tower. After the project, the family remained in Las Vegas to make Nevada home.
Laura Jane, known to her friends and colleagues as LJ, attended Clark County public schools, where she was president of her senior class at Clark High School. LJ was followed by her brother two years later, who today is one of Nevada’s most highly recognized pediatric anesthesiologists. LJ attended Arizona State University for a year and transferred to the University of Nevada, Reno where she was a cheerleader for four years.
Before graduation, LJ married Reno native Lane Spina, who is a former two-time US Olympic skiing medalist and world cup champion. Spina family ties date back to Nevada as a Territory where a great, great grandfather was signatory to Nevada’s Constitution as this nation’s 36th state.
With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies, LJ returned to Las Vegas to join RAFI and her mother’s practice: Fielden and Partners, as a planner for redevelopment projects and as a project designer for both firms. As she gained greater experience, Spina became a project director and a client’s primary project contact - as her range of experience broadened her importance to the firm and her leadership increased. Upon examination and registration with the Nevada State Board of Architecture, Interior Design and Residential Design, she became a stockholder of the firm, and today owns 51 percent of RAFI’s, and Fielden and Partners’ stock.
Mrs. Spina’s major projects to date include the Master Plan for the City of Mesquite, a Redevelopment Plan and Downtown Design Guidelines for the City of Mesquite, Amendments and Additions to the City of Las Vegas Redevelopment Plan, and Redevelopment Plans for Boulder City, Nevada and Elko, Nevada. Additionally, she directed the firm’s planning and design for the Administrative Centers for the Clark County Regional Transportation Agency and the Clark County Flood Control District; she directed the firm’s work with the one billion dollar expansion to McCarran International Airport, and one billion dollar expansion and upgrade to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Today her major projects are with HUD and Indian Housing through the Southern Nevada Housing Authority and with NASA at the Armstrong Flight Research Center located in Mojave California. Additionally today, Mrs. Spina is directing the firms’ work in assisting with the rebranding of the Monte Carlo Hotel and casino to become the new Park Hotel and Casino Resort. Mrs. Spina is currently a member of the City of Henderson Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board and she assisted the city in developing its new Downtown Master Plan.
LJ’s mother and father are graduates of Texas Tech. Her mother Jane’s degree is in Interior Design and Applied Arts. Her father Robert received a Bachelor of Architecture: Design Option. Upon moving to Las Vegas, Robert completed his internship with local architect Jack Miller, AIA, and upon examination and licensure he joined Jack Miller and Thomas Turner, PE, to form JMA Architects and Engineers. At JMA, Fielden served as the principal-in-charge of planning and design. In this role, the firm received numerous planning and design awards and grew to become Nevada’s largest and most respected architectural and engineering practice.
Jane joined her husband at JMA to establish the state’s first space planning and interior design practice, The Fielden Design Group. Together the two firms partnered on approximately a 1,000 projects working together over 22 years. After completion of construction work at the Golden Gate Casino and Sal Sagev Hotel, Fielden was given the responsibility at JMA to direct the architectural design and coordination with the sign company to develop the now iconic sign for the Stardust Hotel along with the resort’s first electronic sign façade that connected the Stardust Hotel to the failed neighboring property to the south it purchased after bankruptcy. This integrated electronic façade with continuously changing lighting patterns was almost one-quarter mile in length.
This project and its redevelopment became Nevada’s largest resort property, and the state’s first resort providing a major convention area as a principal business and guest attraction, promoting extended stays for guests throughout each week. As a result of this highly successful project, JMA was selected to serve as the associate architect for the first addition to Las Vegas Convention Center. Fielden served as the project architect, Jane as the interior designer and both remained working with the convention authority throughout their 22 year tenure with the firm; including developing and implementing the center’s first long-range master plan and additions, taking the facility to more than one million square feet of convention space, meeting rooms and food and drink amenities. The success of this work led to the firms’ commission to create a new master plan and 200,000 square feet of building additions for the Reno-Sparks Convention Authority.
In a similar scenario in 1966, Jane and Robert Fielden won a design competition for a new chemistry building for the fledgling UNLV campus. This building was later awarded the gold medal for design excellence by the AIA Western Mountain Region. Other award winning projects at UNLV by the Fielden’s for JMA include master plan updates, the design of the College of Education, the Life Sciences Building and the James Dickenson Library Additions.
The Fielden’s also designed Nevada’s first solar building for JMA in 1973 for the Desert Research Institute for Boulder City, Nevada. The design for the research center operated entirely on solar energy from sunrise to sunset. Small supplemental boilers provided all nighttime energy demands. That project received the 1974 Owens-Corning International Design Award for Energy Conservation.
By 1985, when the Fielden’s established their own independent practices together, their portfolios at JMA included additional work for the Clark County Detention Center, the Clark County Juvenile Courts and Detention Center, The Nevada State Minimum Security Prison in Jean, McCarran International Airport, the Nevada Industrial Commission, Nevada Power Company, the Las Vegas YMCA and the Citibank-Citicorp credit card center – along with more than 35 design awards for contributions to excellence in architecture and design.
Research associated with projects designed by the Fieldens at JMA ultimately led to interests in creating a research-based design, planning, architecture and urban design practice – focused on uncovering new ways leading to environmentally sensitive projects within the realms of their clients’ endeavors. It became important to the Fieldens practice goals to offer clients new forms of assistance that in turn would enhance the client’s performance goals, their productivity and potential for success. As the Fieldens practices expanded into new areas of needs and regions, their dedication to research demanded even more investments in time and resources.
From the new firm’s inception it has co-practiced with Robert’s wife Jane and her studio: Fielden and Partners Space Planning and Interior Design. Together, the firm’s assistance attracted additional clients including other construction professionals: architects, designers, engineers and contractors seeking special planning and design knowledge and expertise.
The firm’s earliest projects included a strategic 20 year master plan for services, programs, collections, staffing, operations, sites and facilities for the Las Vegas - Clark County Library District; a master plan for the Community College of Southern Nevada, a redevelopment plan for the historic Chaparral High School in Las Vegas, planning and design of the Administration Center for the Bishop of Las Vegas, as a consultant to local architect Harry E. Campbell. Campbell and RAFI went together with Fielden and Partners to win a design competition for the new City of Henderson, Nevada City Hall. During its early years, Fielden and Partners built a statewide portfolio of space planning, interior design and environmental design projects including assignments for the Las Vegas, Reno-Sparks and Henderson convention centers, McCarran International Airport, and UNLV.
Today, under LJ’s leadership, direction and spectrum of services for clients, RAFI is registered for planning, architecture, urban design and assistance to attorneys in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. Beyond these limitations, RAFI’s realm of services are available to clients universally. Neither RAFI nor Fielden and Partners have ever encountered any problems serving clients or have faced litigation in any professional endeavor.