Tri-North Middle School

Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) identified the need to replace the aging Tri-North Middle School. CSO and BrainSpaces, an expert in brain-based educational planning and design, led a visioning and programming process that enabled CSO to design a new building tailored to the specific needs and vision of Tri-North students, teachers, and administrators.

The building layout utilizes next generation learning elements including an open media center, collaboration spaces, and small group rooms throughout the building. Teachers and administrators expressed the need for spaces to be flexible and adaptable to a rapidly changing educational world. CSO’s design addresses the need for flexibility by implementing features such as the use of operable theater seating in the Performance / Large Group Instruction space, operable partitions in Science and STEM labs, and spaces that are planned to facilitate the use of both departmental and interdisciplinary teaching models.

MCCSC also emphasized the need for sustainable design considerations which were implemented with plans for a geothermal system, solar array on the gym roof, and use of local materials and native plants. The leadership of MCCSC is excited for the New Tri-North Middle School to be the crown jewel for this Bloomington community.

Westfield High School

When the community supported WWS in their endeavor to address growing facility needs throughout the district with approval of a referendum, the largest allocation was put toward expanding the existing high school. Administrators saw this as an opportunity to not only address the needs of growing programs and an aging building, but to transform its education model and align the built environment with their pedagogical vision.

CSO studied existing facility use and programming information to quantify space utilization and projected student and program growth. Using CSO’s data, administrators decided to make the leap to a university model of education, allowing them to increase building efficiency and maximize the use of their budget to benefit as many parts of the building and programs as possible. In addition to this shift in space usage, WHS sought to accommodate growing demand for career ready programs, provide flexible areas for student use, and create spaces where students would want to spend time. All new and renovated spaces were designed to easily adapt to future program needs by minimizing built-in fixtures and maximizing use of mobile and flexible furniture. CSO worked closely with WHS to establish an aesthetic that mirrored the new educational direction with a high-tech, industrial feel while maintaining subtle touches that are distinctly Westfield.

The collaborative process between WHS and CSO and in-depth programming was critical to the success of this project. This approach allowed WHS to accomplish so much more than a traditional approach to projected growth would have allowed. The resultant custom tailored building will better support today’s students and staff in their endeavors and allow WHS to adapt to an unknown future much more readily and rapidly.

HSE College and Career Academies

Hamilton Southeastern Schools conducted a community study and determined that rather than building a third high school to meet the needs of their growing community, they would build advanced learning center academies at each campus to accommodate an additional 1,000 students.

CSO was selected to work with stakeholders to explore the requirements of a learning center that would meet their academic needs while taking into consideration what teaching and learning looks like at institutions of higher education and centers of innovative learning. CSO worked with educational experts to gather stakeholder input around the tenets of 21st Century School Design and developed design concepts that met the required scope and quality for the project.  Design documents and detailed renderings were developed for both high schools and were critical in the passing of the May 2013 referendum. After the referendum was passed, CSO used the detailed design documents to develop the design criteria package that allowed the school corporation to issue an RFP for design-build teams. CSO stayed on the project through construction as owner’s representative.

In addition to expanding each high school’s capacity by 1,000 students, the academies also reflect the most innovative design for teaching and learning with accessible space for early college classes that provide actual college credits for high school students. Additions are 2-stories and reflect the qualities of 21st Century Design with copious daylight, transparency in learning spaces, ubiquitous technology, and flexible learning spaces that are sized for small and large group gatherings. Teachers do not “own” their classroom space but have an office space available, similar to the arrangements in higher education. A Student Learning Commons, adjacent to the student café, has technology tables and opportunities for small group collaboration. A large, open science lab serves all disciplines and art labs open to one another, creating a free flowing creative environment.