Renaissance   April 18-20, 2013
Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel
Pittsburgh, PA

Thursday, April 18, 2013 – 10:15-11:30 am
Not Old School: Architecture in Support of Learning
Speakers: Laura Wernick, AIA, REFP, LEED AP, HMFH Architects, Inc.
Tina Stanislaski, AIA, LEED AP
Deb McNeish

In September of 2012, three new public elementary schools opened Concord, NH. The school buildings were designed to allow teaching and learning to take place in new and more effective ways. From the onset of the design process Superintendent Christine Rath and her academic team saw the building design as having the potential to further their goals of increasing literacy, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. In line with current brain-based research, the design team sought to assure that spaces were designed so that different types of learning could easily take place both in and out of the classroom, that project based-activities were easily accommodated, that digitally-based learning would be ubiquitous, and that every square inch of the building could be optimized for learning. The resulting collaboration between the academic and design teams has lead to a model design that has rarely been attempted at this scale in the US and could readily be adapted to other school systems. A first step in the design process was to evolve the library from a repository of books to an integrated and ever-present feature of the school day that demonstrates to students and teachers that literacy occurs everywhere in the school. With the four walls of the library no longer a constraint, the opportunity arose to create a range of learning spaces right outside of the classroom, providing the teachers and students with easy access to project-based activities, collaborative activities, quiet study, presentation and performance. These activities all take place within the Learning Commons, which runs the entire length of the school. The more traditional classrooms around the perimeter of the Learning Commons open into the central, sky-lit, double-height space, that features a range of learning environments. Large areas of glazing provide visual connections throughout each school, and brightly painted components and bold tile patterns provide ongoing interest and sensory engagement. In addition student work is displayed everywhere and is an seen as an integral part of the learning process While teacher-directed learning is still a focus within the school, it is no longer the only option. Teachers are using the Learning Commons constantly. Individualized learning takes place there, small collaborative groups of students regularly seek out the nooks and crannies that have been set aside for them, innovative technology applications are ever-present, and more and more frequently, the Learning Commons accommodates large-scale project activities involving an entire class and even an entire grade level. This session will explore the research and initial design process that led to the concept of the Learning Commons and ultimately led to community acceptance. We will also explore the impact of the Learning Commons on teaching and learning within the schools. We will review the code and cost implications of a Learning Commons solution There will be an opportunity for participants to brainstorm on alternatives that would support individualized learning and project-based opportunities within an elementary school environment.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand the research and theory that support a learning commons approach to education
  2. Understand how academic and community support was developed for a learning commons
  3. Learn how the learning commons is being put to use educators
  4. Understand the acoustical, lighting and cost considerations in planning for a learning commons
Imagining The High School Of The Future
Speaker: Peter Gisolfi, Peter Gisolfi Associates, Architects, Landscape Architects, LLP

The methods of teaching and learning in American high schools are changing. These changes are based mostly on the digital revolution. Scarsdale High School, one of the best public schools in the nation, is rethinking how its existing curriculum and existing high school building will accommodate change over the next decade, and how its educators will put new principles into practice. The changing patterns of education, which apply most intensely to the humanities and social sciences, will rely less on the traditional formula of classroom presentations by teachers, student homework, and assignments returned. Both schoolwork and what used to be thought of as homework might be completed in school as well as at home, and likely will be addressed collectively in partnerships and interaction with fellow students and members of the faculty. Most of the construction at Scarsdale High School occurred over a period of 100 years, with major work in the 1910s, 1930s, 1960s, and 1990s. Although the building follows the conventional pattern of double-loaded corridors flanked by standard classrooms, the evolved building complex is organized around four similarly-sized outdoor courtyards (or quadrangles). However, quiet is maintained in the courtyards, and they are mostly inaccessible. The proposed changes to Scarsdale High School imagine an extensive Learning Commons that might include a Center For Innovation, a new Makers’ Space Laboratory, a Wellness Center, a kinesthetic gymnasium, expansion and alterations to the library to make it function more actively as part of the Learning Commons, and learning cafés for students and faculty. The Center For Innovation would encourage small group activities, research, and interdisciplinary studies in a variety of spaces. The proposed changes, rooted in sustainable strategies and technological upgrades, could be undertaken incrementally over a 5- or 10-year period. They might evolve from new ways of learning and inventive ways to arrange space. One of the ideas for change is to make better use of the existing courtyards — in essence to colonize them. The high school might change from a rigidly organized building with double-loaded corridors that focus mostly on separation, into a high school based on a series of courtyards (public squares) that would focus instead on communal interaction. The courtyards could be surrounded by single-loaded corridors (streets) that face the courtyards as well as more flexible communal spaces; these spaces would foster collaboration, transparency, visibility, and innovative ways of learning. Scarsdale High School, which serves 1,600 students, could, over time, evolve into a place that would approximate the layout and appearance of a small college — a community of learners. The 75-minute conference session would present the process and initial plans from the point of view of a teacher, who has participated throughout the planning sessions, and the architect, who has been similarly involved. Time would be left for questions and discussion.

Learning Objectives:
  1. The participants should understand the changes in patterns of learning.
  2. The participants should understand what type of space is required to accommodate these changes.
  3. The participants should understand how an existing, rigidly structured high school can be transformed to a more communal setting.
  4. The participants should understand how transparency and visibility can support collaboration and innovation.
Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times: Using Strategic Planning to Maximize Capital Investment
Speakers: Hakim Chambers, Brailsford & Dunlavey
Rachel Lynn, Project Manager, Brailsford & Dunlavey

In the wake of the 2008 financial collapse, public school districts have faced persistent challenges that have limited or halted investment in capital improvement projects. For many districts, the recession only exacerbated pre-existing trends, fueling a self-perpetuating dynamic that has diminished student enrollments and cut deeply into district budgets. Declining populations have drained school buildings of students and eroded tax bases that fund not only academic but also operating and capital investments; growing competition from an expanding charter school market has also challenged school districts for ever more scarce funding. As a result, school officials face inventories of aging assets that operate inefficiently below capacity and constrain strategic allocation of resources. While school closures are often the default position to right-size a district and improve the budgetary outlook, they are merely the first step. The questions remain of where to prioritize investment and how to implement capital projects efficiently and effectively, questions that are especially salient in this economic climate. District of Columbia Public Schools (“DCPS”) initiated its 10-year district-wide facilities modernization program in fall 2007 in the early months of the recession. Despite the widely felt financial strain, $2 billion in renovations and newly constructed school buildings have opened to students over the last five years, due in large part to long-range strategic planning and tactical implementation of capital improvement projects. Strategic planning tools and cost- and risk-control measures employed during the implementation phase, which have allowed DCPS to proceed with district-wide modernization, will be shared. This case study will engage attendees to consider successful strategies for drawing students back into the school system by bringing capital assets into the 21st Century despite uncertain financial times.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Identify the financial, demographic, and structural trends in public schools districts in the years immediately preceding and following the collapse of the financial markets in 2008, as well as present-day condition.
  2. Understand the relationship between student enrollment and budgeting and their impact on school facilities and capital investment in public school districts.
  3. Explore the available tools that aid schools districts in prioritizing funds to invest strategically in capital improvements and controlling costs during project implementation.
  4. Apply the concepts of strategic planning and investment by studying the ongoing modernization of District of Columbia Public Schools, which was initiated at the onset of the recession.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 – 1:30-2:45 pm
Effective School Design for Innovative Curriculum Models: Incorporating Content, Context, and Learning Processes
Speaker: Richard D. Moretti, StudioJAED Architects & Engineers

Schools across the country are pushing the boundaries of public education with innovative ways of teaching and learning that energize teachers, excite students, and raise achievement. Deeper learning school designs are characterized by academic programs that offer teachers and students new and engaging ways of teaching and learning that focus on deepening content knowledge and understanding, providing real-world learning experiences, and helping students develop the 21st century skills they need to be successful in college and careers. No one school model is a perfect fit for every student and every community. To diversify the learning opportunities available, we will begin with a discussion of a portfolio of modern, high quality, high performing school models, including Big Picture, Expeditionary Learning, New Tech, and Early College School Models. These models have a strong record of successful replication in public schools around the country in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Each can be implemented either as a school-with-in-a-school or as a stand-alone school. The context, concept, and learning processes of each innovative school model will be discussed in depth including:

  • Overall approach
  • Going beyond “best practices”
  • Overlay of core subject areas with 21st century themes
  • Incorporation of strong family and community involvement
  • Embracing high expectations
  • Teaching students to self-assess
  • Fostering a culture and community
  • Embracing professional development
  • Multiple measures of student success
  • Utilizing data in meaningful ways
  • Demonstrating restorative justice and creative problem solving
  • Developing leaders and leadership skills

Once the content, context, and learning processes of each model are understood, a discussion of the link between architecture and education will be undertaken, including:

  • How may architecture and education intersect when planning and designing learning environments for these new and innovative school models?
  • How can all the stakeholders, including educators, architects, administrators, students, and community make the most of this intersection?
  • What can designers and facility planners do to support and facilitate the learning environments of each model and how may educators assist in that process?

Finally, we will move from theory into practice and discuss, with group input, specific architectural approaches and components that may be incorporated into either a renovation or new construction to facilitate the content, context, and learning processes of each model. A case study of the design process and resulting architectural components for one of the innovative models will also be presented and discussed.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understanding the context, concept, and learning processes of each of four innovative school models including Big Picture, Expeditionary Learning, New Tech, and Early College Models.
  2. Understanding the intersection of architecture and education when planning and designing learning environments for these school models.
  3. Understanding what designers and facility planners can do to support and facilitate the learning environments of each model and how educators may assist in the process.
  4. Understanding of some of the practical design approaches and components that may be used to facilitate the context, content, and learning processes of each innovative school model.
Improving the Educational Environment without Raising Taxes in a Challenging Economy
Speakers: Georgia Glass, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Architectural Innovations, LLC
Jan Brimmeier, AIA, NCARB, President/Owner, Architectural Innovations, LLC
Mark Follen, RA, Planning Specialist and Client Liaison, Architectural Innovations, LLC
Jim Kosinski, P.E. Principal,Tower Engineering

Due to the declined economy, budget cuts in many states, increasing costs, and the reality of reduced enrollments and the migration of students and financial resources to cyber and charter schools, K-12 public schools are contending with significant challenges that threaten the strength, performance and stability of public education. Our proposed session shall present a case study in which the Penn Hills School District took preemptive and courageous steps to overcome these challenges that were threatening to impoverish the District financially and educationally. The Penn Hills School District engaged in a comprehensive facilities and educational plan that resulted in a consensus for major changes to address deteriorating school facilities, financial difficulties and an underperforming curriculum. With the overwhelming support of the School Board, administration and community, the School District implemented a consolidation and new construction program in order to provide its students with enhanced educational environments and the community with a commitment for financial stewardship by reducing operational costs and a pledge to not raise taxes. All of the school buildings within Penn Hills School District were underutilized due to decades of declining student enrollments; the condition was further aggravated by the increasing migration of students to cyber and charter schools. The District was contending with a significant unemployment rate for its community, reductions in state funding, consistently rising operational costs, and the frustration of not being able to effectively provide the needed repairs or improvements to the school buildings that had been neglected due to insufficient financial resources and a complacency of “doing nothing.” Compounded with the awareness of an inferior environment for curriculum development, the School District analyzed all of its facilities and evaluated its options that could be realistically accomplished with its financial challenges. The School District concluded that its best choice and plan for action would be grade realignment for its school programs and the consolidation of the four existing elementary schools into a new, more efficiently designed K-4 Elementary School and the construction of a new High School for grades 9-12. The Penn Hills New High School has been recently completed for construction, and it was opened for classes in January 2013; the New Elementary School is currently in construction and will be completed for the 2014/2015 school year. This session for the Northeast Regional Conference for CEFPI will tour the technologically advanced New High School. The session will present the case study of the Penn Hills School District and how it has effectively put into place a strategic plan to attract new families, regain its students from the cyber and charter schools and provide a superior and enhanced educational environment for 21st century learning, while protecting its financial stability through reduced operating costs and its commitment to not increase the tax burden of its constituents.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Responding to the Challenging Economy with positive changes
  2. Overcoming poor retention rates for enrollments, declining population, and migration to cyber charter programs
  3. Building consensus to make the appropriate decision to consolidate facilities, reduce operating costs, and improve educational facilities
  4. Regaining students with an enhanced curriculum and and improved learning environment
Transforming a Diamond in the Rough
Speaker: Christoffer A. Graae, AIA LEED AP, cox graae + spack architects

The modernization of Wilson High School exemplifies the best in:

  • Successful collaboration between the Owner, Architect and Builder, the community’s engaged and diverse group of Stakeholders, and the ever-watchful Review Agencies
  • Creative adaptive re-use and renovation of valuable historic assets
  • Delivery of a comprehensively modernized “green” high school that will compete with the best public schools in the nation, delivered on-time and on-budget with minimum disruption to the school and community.

Wilson won the CEFPI 2012 Lee J Brockway annual award and this session will provide the opportunity to delve deeper into the unique – but also typical – challenges this ambitious, and at times controversial project faced and how it ultimately exceeded its goals and expectations. In recent years Washington experienced a kind of renaissance with a booming economy, hot jobs market and exploding real estate development - a dramatic turnaround from a history of declining population with families leaving for better schools, safer communities and better services. This revitalization was accompanied by the District’s ambitious School Facilities Modernization Plan, a 15 year, $3 billion investment to modernize every school in its inventory. The agency’s assets – from fine 19th and 20th c. historic edifices to Brutalist bunkers – were in varying states of decay or abandonment. Due to years of declining population it was necessary to go through the painful process of assessing which should be invested in and which to close. Fortunately many of DC’s best schools survived essentially intact with their fine architecture and durable construction, providing unique opportunities to transform these structures to meet today’s educational needs, while continuing to serve their vital role in the cultural and historic fabric of their communities. Wilson High School – the City’s premier comprehensive high school - was at the top of that list and its time and place had finally come after 75 years of service, and substantial neglect and decay. This $96m project - designed, phased and delivered so that Wilson students were relocated to off-site swing space for only one academic year – encompassed renovation and adaptive reuse of 305,000 existing square feet, complimented by 71,000 of new space, for a total area of 376,000 serving its 1600 students. Built in post-depression 1935, the five-part Palladian plan, designed in a reserved Colonial Revival style, was designated a DC Historic Site in 2009 - while design was underway. Won in a design competition and before its historic designation, cox graae + spack’s design - unlike many of its competitors - was premised on re-use of the original buildings, with sensitive insertion of new construction. Although this preservation strategy was supported by city agencies, the community fought long and hard for an all-new campus with demolition of all structures except for the main academic building, arguing this was the only way to solve the programming and accessibility issues. Gradually these opponents were won over and since its opening in 2011 to acclaim and recognition as the benchmark for transformative 21st c schools, they have become some of its most enthusiastic supporters.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand creative adaptive re-use and renovation design strategies for transforming existing historic assets.
  2. Learn how end user/community engagement and a hybrid DesignBuild project delivery optimized design innovation.
  3. Learn how to overcome obstacles of time, money and prejudice against using existing schools.
  4. Understand the impact of design on the learning and behavioral outcomes of the students.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 – 3:00-4:30 pm
High Impact Learning Environments
Speaker: Bill Lindstrom, Contrax Furnishings
Bill Latham, Contrax Furnishings

Transforming Learning Environments. The educational environment is constantly changing; year-after-year. No Longer Are Learning Spaces Centered On The Classroom. They are a student centric model. The environment is untethered. PED's used as learning tools that can go anywhere in the facility. This creates numerous learning spaces that didn’t previously exist. Learning spaces are now more informal than before. Everywhere is a learning space. There is a transition from static positioning to dynamic positioning. Brain Development From 2-12 years old, there is a rapid growth in the number of information highways in the brain. This is called synaptic switching. The synapses are altered when new information is learned, and new switches are created. No two brains are the same. In the traditional model of education, it is assumed that every person is going to receive the same input and therefore get the same output. This is a faulty premise. Different types of learners Technologically adept Media savvy Just-in-time content delivery Mobile Interactive Networked Anywhere, anytime learners A school must not be based on children being the same. It should be based on children being different. Things Are Changing Rapidly Change is no longer a foreign concept to students. What Outcomes Are We Looking For? Life-long learners. Adaptable to changes in technology. Can handle individual assignments. Work in a team. Project management. Organizational skills. Internet research. Does Environment Affect Outcome? Outcomes are created by the environment that is created. Five Principles Of Reinvented Education. In the past, education was focused around a desired standardized output. The same content was delivered in the same way. The value was a student passing a test. A re-invented education system is interested in inspiring desired outcomes: A life-long learner and other outcomes previously mentioned. Teachers advise students in managing a project. Experiences are linked with content. What Are The Areas That Produce Results? Technology In The Classroom. Smaller, more ubiquitous. Integrated into the learning environment. How does the technology integrate into the classroom? Learner Mobility Any space can be a learning space. E-Learning (electronic learning) + M-Learning (mobile learning) = U-Learning (ubiquitous learning). Both formal and informal spaces must be accounted for in the environment. Multi-Modal Your learning environment is different based on what you’re doing that day. The environment has to account for all modes of learning. Brain development is different so the environment has to reflect those different modalities. How often does that modality change? Flexibility If I am going to change the environment, the furniture must be able to be changed. The more flexible the environment, the better ability to meet learning needs. It must account for changes in technology. Dynamic Ergonomics In classrooms, 90 percent of time is sitting. The brain is also developing. Concentration and performance can improve based on the environment. No two brains are the same. What Are The Elements Of A High-Impact Learning Environment? There is technology There is mobility Different modalities Dynamic environment

High Impact Learning Environments from MyContrax on Vimeo.

Learning Objectives:
  1. The Learning Environment continues to evolve at a rapid pace.
  2. Not all students learn in the same manner.
  3. The learning environment has a profound effect on rate and quality of learning.
  4. Correct design and function can improve learning experience and overall success.
Modernizing Early 20th Century Buildings for 21st Century STEM Education
Speakers: Daniel Curry, Quinn Evans Architects
Jeff Luker, Principal, Quinn Evans Architects

Our education system is in the midst of a Renaissance. Across the nation, are schools are being modernized and transformed to provide learning environments for 21st Century Education. With the adoption of the Common Core Standards, Architects and Planners are tasked with evaluating how to bring aging facilities into alignment with objectives of these standards. The District of Columbia is in the process of implementing a multi-phase Master Plan aimed at modernizing all of the District’s school. Quinn Evans Architects and Broughton Construction, through a Design Build delivery method, are currently transforming an early 20th century school into a 21st century STEM middle school. The McKinley Middle School will have leading edge pre-engineering and technology labs designed to facilitate project based learning. Through a series of collaborative stakeholder work sessions, the team evaluated which qualities of both traditional and contemporary learning environments would best support the curriculum. In addition, the team looked to collegiate and professional educational and working environments to inform the design of learning environments that will prepare students to succeed in the 21st century work force. Throughout the design the team also looked for opportunities to display student work. A fundamental value in the design of the new school was to instill within the students a sense of ownership and pride in their work. In addition, the display of student work from all grade levels seeks to promote dialogue, collaboration and competition between grade levels. This transparency of student work between grade levels aims to provide an understanding of expectation for the students as they progress in the mastery of their studies. It also seeks to provide opportunities for mentorship amongst the students. McKinley Middle School is also designed to facilitate continued growth and development of its staff and parents. The new school will also house a professional development and collaboration suite that will support collaboration between its staff and other leaders throughout the district and across the nation. This suite will also allow the school to host leaders from the Washington metropolitan region to serve as mentors to the staff and students. McKinley Middle School is a 60,000 sf modernization being implemented under a fast-track, design build delivery method. It will open in the fall of 2013. The construction budget for the modernization is $10.4 million.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand how the Common Core Standards and the 4 C's of 21st education are affecting the design of contemporary learning environments.
  2. Understand the opportunities and challenges of modernizing an early 20th century building for 21st century education.
  3. Understand the framework of the District of Columbia's multi-phase Master Plan to modernize its schools.
  4. Understand the opportunities and challenges of a fast track design build delivery method for school construction.
Getting from a 21st Century Vision Statement to Construction Details, The New Guilford High School
Speakers: Ryszard Szczypek, Partner, Tai Soo Kim Partners
Dr. Paul Freeman, Superintendent, Guilford Public Schools
Frank Locker, PhD, REFP

Getting from a 21st Century Vision Statement to Construction Details The New Guilford High School Let's say you've been asked to design and construct a new public high school that will support the needs of 21st Century pedagogy. Where do you begin? What does a 21st century pedagogy require in a school facility? This was the question that faced the Building Committee for the new Guilford High School in Guilford, Connecticut, about 16 months ago. A team of educators, students, and professionals conducted tours and workshops during design in order to define the vision for this community. Over the course of those 16 months, the Committee worked through many questions such as: - What does 21st Century Pedagogy mean for Guilford High School? - Are we planning a facility for teaching methods not yet adopted in our school? - Why are we tampering with our successful school? - Are we giving up the departmental model? Our session is a case study of the design process leading up to completion of the plans and specifications, and we'll focus on four areas: - What components of Guilford's existing and proposed pedagogy can be supported by the facility? - Ways in which a 21st century pedagogy affect areas other than classrooms? - Utilizing a "model" classroom in the existing school to inform the design of new classrooms? - Taking the leap from a vision statement to a set of plans? Using PowerPoint and handout material we will present photographs, diagrams, plans, and charts to illustrate the ideas being presented.

Learning Objectives:
  1. The meaning of 21st Century Pedagogy.
  2. Techniques used to make the leap from Educational Vision to construction details.
  3. How implementing a "model" classroom can help test a concept.
  4. Thoughts on how education will be delivered in the future.
Friday, April 19, 2013 – 3:00-5:00 pm
Renaissance of Tragedy – School Safety Design for the Unthinkable
Speaker: Howard Levinson, CPP Expert Security Consulting

This session will address the Renaissance of Tragedy. The increasing frequency and severity of shooting incidents in schools. This seminar will look at the most deadly event’s design and preparation in order to learn from them. Planning can only begin from the design stage and many Education facilitys (and their design firms) still do not adequately address them. In 1764, in Pennsylvania, a teacher and 9 children were killed in their school and since approximately 125 school shootings have occurred in the US. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown are just a few of the latest and most deadly. They are increasing with shocking frequency and severity Education facility designers and administration can no longer consider these random acts that will “never happen to us”.

  • Preparation, Planning and Project Design are essential so schools don’t have to “make do” with the best they can.
  • New and cutting edge techniques will be discussed.
  • Timing in a design and how important the planning has been when staff is forced into unthinkable life and death options.
  • Each essential phase of the planning process will be discussed coinciding with actual events and tragedies that have occurred.
  • What we have learned and still need to learn will be covered.
  • Finally the attendees will leave the seminar with a much better understanding of the issues, what can/should be considered and how to implement them.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Understanding the problem
  2. Understand the weaknesses
  3. Understand the process and solutions
  4. Understand how the design can save lives and effect the options available
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