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.
The Innovation Center strengthens the school’s commitment to a flexible and focused learning environment, emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Learning Studios. The facility’s design encourages and promotes a collaborative experience in all of the learning spaces, and provides a more open, group-oriented Science area, de-emphasizing compartmentalized education and promoting group and team learning across several disciplines. The open Science area includes several laboratories in the same space allowing a more efficient teaching model, while providing enhanced interaction.
An informal study area and open faculty areas promote additional interaction among faculty and students. The proximity and accessibility of the faculty is purposeful. However, break out rooms and small group rooms support one-on-one meetings or private conversations. The learning spaces are intentionally transparent as well as flexible in order to adapt to the changing use of the space and the continued connection to the learning environments.
The Innovation Center also contains the relocated dining and kitchen space in the lower level, allowing students a more flexible approach to food service and more options to the traditional lunch period. An additional Café allows students to utilize a “grab-n-go” concept during the day. The relocation of the campus cafeteria creates a destination for students during the course of the day, while also creating informal interaction areas in the adjacent spaces. Additionally, a new Cathedral Spirit Shop is located near the cafeteria in a prominent location for both students and visiting parents/alumni.
Architecturally, The Innovation Center creates a new “front door” to campus. The center is an addition to Kelly Hall on the courtyard between the existing Student Life Center (SLC) and Loretta Hall. The new addition incorporates a three-story open atrium between the old Kelly Hall and the architecture of the new addition. Exterior materials used on the addition are blonde brick (same used on SLC), glass, metal panel and stone veneer panels. The old limestone façade of Kelly Hall will be preserved and will be the feature of the new, glass-enclosed front entrance.
The vision for the Center was to provide a wide variety of educational learning and collaboration spaces, including specialty labs for robotics, PLC, warehousing, industrial maintenance, testing and health occupations. Multiple educational partners were recruited to share this facility to ensure a wide variety of program offerings. Participants include Vincennes University, Ivy Tech Community College, WorkOne, Hendricks College Network, and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
CSO led a collaborative process to program and design the facility. Visioning workshops for all stakeholders defined the important aspects of the projects. Then, during programming, looked globally across all space needs to identify opportunities for stakeholders to share key spaces to reduce the overall building square footage and increase space efficiency. Competitors, such as Ivy Tech and Vincennes University, had never shared a facility, so they were initially reluctant to consider sharing spaces. CSO’s expertise in building consensus helped all stakeholders successfully work through this challenging issue and prove out the benefits. Ultimately conference rooms, several classrooms, the community room, lounge/vending areas, collaboration/study areas, restrooms, and even the flex lab became shared spaces. The overall building design was key to gaining acceptance of this strategy.
The approach created a consistent design for the shared common spaces at the main entrance lobby and along the building’s main corridors. Stakeholder’s individual spaces were distributed along these splines and carefully positioned with enough separation to allow for individual identity.
The resulting design features a modern and inviting building exterior with large window walls surrounded by brick and metal wall panels. The two-story lobby at the main entrance is positioned at the building’s center to provide easy access for all tenants. The lobby is branded as MADE@Plainfield and features a reception desk, restrooms and dining area, offering direct views into both the flex lab and robotics lab for visitors. The main public corridors extend along the two window walls and incorporate the study and collaboration areas positioned along the outside walls. Natural light and exterior views make these inviting spaces for students. Natural light also floods into the adjacent classrooms spaces along the other side of these corridors though their interior windows. Large lab spaces are positioned behind the classrooms, allowing classrooms to have a direct connection. The project’s success comes from its unified appearance while at the same time meeting the individual needs of a diverse group of stakeholders.
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.