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.

Guilford Elementary School

Each neighborhood cluster houses an entire grade level and radiates from the central hub of the building where a two-story Discovery Center, Art Studio, and Music Classroom are all located. Near this central hub are the cafeteria, gymnasium, and main office area within close proximity to the main entry point.

The central commons space for each neighborhood contains a STEM lab, multiple small group rooms, and a large open gathering space to accommodate as many different activities as possible. Natural daylight abounds in these spaces with direct views to the exterior from every space. CSO paid special attention to transitions of one space to other, creating lower ceiling areas of compression as a response to PCSC autism program anticipated to be housed here.

In designing this new facility, CSO explored Plainfield’s rich history and were able to implement different concepts as part of the interior color palette, materials, and wayfinding concepts. The administration emphasized the desire to create a modern building with timeless appeal while being good stewards of their communities’ investment. With this in mind CSO melded modern and traditional design concepts utilizing a masonry veneer with traditional elements juxtaposed to large windows with metal panel picture frames. The result is a modern building with classic elements that will age gracefully over the coming years.

Deer Creek Elementary School

The design of this new two-story K-4 elementary builds on concepts from CSO’s design of Southeastern Elementary School. While programming for this new school with HSE administrators, principals, and faculty, the design team determined the previous school design was a resounding success and very few enhancements were recommended for improvement. Daylighting and views, visibility, flexible furniture, classroom extensions, and multiple types of learning spaces are still key elements of the inquiry-based learning environment created.

Each learning neighborhood includes six studios (classrooms) and a central shared activity commons that is large enough for the entire neighborhood to gather. Also included in each neighborhood is a small STEM lab/kitchenette, three small group rooms, and three sets of student restrooms. Outdoor courtyards, patios, and rooftop terraces help bring the outdoors in and provide additional opportunity for extending the classroom outside.

Adjacent to the learning neighborhoods are instructional spaces for art and music along with a language/global studies/resource studio The close proximity between the neighborhoods and the enrichment areas provides the possibility of a flex classroom should a grade level size fluctuate and need an additional classroom.

The most central point in the building is the Discovery Center (Media Center) and support spaces. A large, two-story open area draws students into the space with various zones for gathering and reading as well as providing space for media production.