Summer 2022 Spaces4Learning

Summer 2022


elementary students using ClassVR

A/V Technology

A Picture Is Worth More Than A Thousand Words

By Matt Jones

Imagine being transported to the deepest regions of space, or the nucleus of a cell, or the interior of a human heart. Imagine visiting the Great Wall of China, or Victorian-era London, or the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Reading about them is one thing; seeing them all around you is something else entirely. One educational virtual reality solution from Avantis Systems aims to provide students with experiences that they—or anyone—would never be able to see in real life.

The Mapleton Arts Center exterior entrance

Theaters/Performing Arts

All The World's A Stage

The Mapleton Arts Center (The MAC) in Denver, Colo.

By Abby Collins, Seth Clark

Given the history of performing arts excellence in Mapleton, the district has committed to investing even more heavily in these programs by planting a legacy performing arts center to serve as a district-wide icon. Named The Mapleton Arts Center (The MAC), the building supports nearly 1,000 students across the district involved in Mapleton’s performing arts programs.

student pulling a gun out of a backpack

Campus Safety

Sitting Ducks Are For Carnivals—Not Schools

By Dennis Truxler

What can be done to keep kids safe and make them feel safe while at school? As an administrator, this is the most important question you will ever need to answer. That’s because if the next Uvalde or Parkland or Sandy Hook happens on your watch, you will have to face many more uncomfortable questions, and you may be haunted by excruciating regrets. It all hinges on what you do now.


The Thacher School walk through area with study nook

Evidence-Based Design

Opening the Doors to Evidence-Based Design In Ojai, California

By Tysen Gannon

In 2021, the Thacher School, located in Ojai, Calif., opened the doors to its project-based learning hub. The space was designed to support a multidisciplinary learning environment with collaborative common areas and classrooms that provide greater flexibility in their use.

STEM education project-based learning workshop space

Project-Based Learning

Hands-On Learning Spaces: 5 Lessons From Career Tech

By Bobby Williams

The expanding importance of STEM education and project-based learning requires a rethinking of the traditional school planning and design process. A practical way to start is to adopt a broader, non-traditional mindset, especially during a school project’s conceptual phases.

teacher pointing at computer screen in front of student

A/V Technology

Transforming Classrooms into Active Learning Environments

Q&A with a School Principal

By Matt Jones

Mark Hess, principal at Mary Helen Guest Elementary School in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District in Walled Lake, Mich., recently led the school through a new remodel that included transforming classrooms into active learning environments.

castle inside classroom area

Project-Based Learning

Ohio District Builds $52 Million Campus through Partnerships with Local Community, University

By John Stoddard

Before being selected as the new superintendent, I was intrigued by their PRIME initiative, which stands for Partnership for Rural Innovative Models of Education. The more I learned, the more I wanted to be part of it. PRIME is the name that was given to an innovative PK–16 approach to education to consolidate our smaller rural schools into a larger PreK–12 school on the Kent State University – Geauga campus. The idea was to create more opportunities for our students while creating a more robust feeder system into the Kent State University system, the Auburn Career Center for technical skills, and University Hospitals for a new healthcare track for high-school students.

School Bus


How School Districts Can Use Unprecedented Federal Funding to Transition to Electric Buses

By Gilbert Rosas

Amid economic concerns like rising gas prices and inflation impacting American communities and resources, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is bringing a bright spot to school districts across the country. The agency recently announced a new $5 billion fund, available immediately, to purchase clean school bus fleets and lessen reliance on diesel fuel.

college students basement apartment living area

Campus Technology

An Escape Room for Building Digital Skills

By Rhea Kelly

At Pennsylvania's Northampton Community College, students are engaging with cutting-edge technologies in a basement "apartment" designed to boost digital literacy and job skills.

Editor's Note

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

By Matt Jones

It’s the dog days of summer, and there’s not a lot going on in the world of education—on the surface.

Rethinking Sports Facilities / Campus Amenities

Considering Spill Light at Campus Athletic Facilities

Although each piece of the project had its own unique set of challenges and considerations, the design and implementation of the outdoor lighting for the athletic field was particularly complex. The new lighting would need to be bright enough to allow activities and competitions to take place at night but regulated to the point where there would not be an excess of spill lighting that negatively affected those that lived in the nearby neighborhood.


Fountain Inn High School advanced manufacturing space

Building Blueprints

Partnerships to Pipeline: A New Model for High Schools

Fountain Inn High School, Greenville, South Carolina

By Aimee Eckmann, Steven Turckes

Many comprehensive high schools around the country integrate career and technical education programs into their curriculum. Advanced manufacturing differs from traditional career and technical education programs in that it focuses specifically on technology and innovation to improve products and processes. Traditionally in school planning, career and technical spaces have been located far away from core academic classes.

The University of Saint Joseph exterior at dusk

Facility Focus

University Of Saint Joseph Expands O'Connell Athletic Center

By James LaPosta

The University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Conn., engaged JCJ Architecture to renovate and expand the school’s existing O’Connell Athletic Center into a flexible, multi-sport arena and venue to accommodate existing and new university programs.