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.

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 pallet, 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.

Center Grove Innovation Center

Center Grove’s new Innovation Center is a hub for 21st Century learning focused on preparing students of all ages for careers in STEM fields. The Center provides a student-centered learning environment with space for a variety of student experiences including: project-based learning, community partnerships, high-level problem solving, innovative collaborative learning, and cutting edge technology.

The first phase of the project includes a robotics lab to serve as the home to the award-winning Red Alert Robotics team. Prior to the renovation, the robotics team had to test their machines in the high school hallways or empty classrooms. The new design provides ample space for fabrication/tools, assembly/testing, and a full-sized practice pit.

The second phase of the design includes a central organizing “Collaboration Zone” between three large classroom labs dedicated to Basic, Advanced, and Industrial STEM activities and three large-group areas for CAD/computer activities, design exercises, media-based collaboration, and discussions. The flexible spaces accommodate all ages, from elementary students learning with Lego ™ components, to high school students using advanced 3D printing and manufacturing processes.

The STEM labs are open to each other and can be divided to accommodate individualized activities with adjacent break-out spaces for smaller groups. Specific colors designate each STEM lab and extend out into the Collaboration Zone to easily orient young learners. Teachers are able to use electronic tablets to display information on TV screens located around the experiment room or stream videos of an experiment or activities so that all students are able to see it.

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.

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.

Cathedral High School Innovation Center

The Innovation Center would continue to strengthen the commitment to a flexible and focused learning environment, emphasizing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Learning Studios. The goal would be to encourage and promote a collaborative experience in all of the learning spaces, and provide a more open, group-oriented Science area, de-emphasizing compartmentalized education and promoting group and team learning across several disciplines. Plans for the open Science area include 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 between the faculty and students, faculty and faculty, and student to student. The proximity and accessibility of the faculty is purposeful. However, break out rooms and small group rooms would provide for 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 would also contain 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 would also allow 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 will be located near the cafeteria in a prominent location for both students and visiting parents/alumni.

Architecturally, The Innovation Center will create a new “front door” to campus.  The center is an addition to Kelly Hall and will be featured on the courtyard between the existing Student Life Center (SLC) and Loretta Hall.  The new addition will incorporate 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.