DLR Group Unveils New School Designs in 28 Districts

New DLR Group education designs are elevating learning for 28 school districts across the nation as students return for the 2017-18 school year. This year, more than 32,000 students will learn in new or renovated facilities designed by DLR Group.

“Each year I look forward to this time when our design teams proudly unveil the new spaces we’ve created for students and staff. I believe our firm truly makes a difference in the lives of thousands of students by creating innovative environments that inspire learning and engage these young people in new and exciting ways,” said Jim French, FAIA, DLR Group Global K-12 Education Practice Leader. “It’s exciting to think that in 2017, our designs will elevate learning for students in 26 local communities across 10 states.”

DLR Group designed more than 3.2 million SF of education space, with an approximate construction value of $748 million. Some of the facilities include:

  • Dickinson School District, Dickinson, N.D. – DLR Group’s design for the new $57 million Dickinson Middle School creates a flexible, agile learning environment that can be modified daily. Moveable, innovative wall systems create a new generation of learning spaces, allowing teachers and students to adjust their environment to support more active pedagogies in this 200,000 SF facility. Students are grouped in clusters, with each cluster consisting of three primary learning environments flanked by lab space and common discovery areas. Walls within each cluster open and slide, providing maximum flexibility to reshape and resize the core cluster learning environment for a variety of activities such as small group instruction or large group presentations. The school also includes a commons area and a forum, a black box/multi-flex learning space that supports a variety of programmatic features such as drama, theater, music, and performance. The forum incorporates theatrical lighting and rigging that can function independently for smaller events and act as a stage for larger productions. Dickinson Middle School accommodates 960 students in grades 6 through 8.
  • Falcon District 49, Colorado Springs, Colo. – DLR Group’s design for the new 81,000 SF Banning Lewis Ranch Preparatory Academy Middle + High School Campus is a state-of-the-art, 21st Century educational facility that provides a variety of learning spaces, classrooms, labs, and open collaboration areas to prepare students for college or their future careers. The design complements the existing K-8 school on an adjacent site, and creates strong connections with the surrounding community through the use of cultured stone and residential lap siding. With the completion of the middle and high school facility, the campus allows for a seamless continuum of education from Kindergarten to high school. The school’s gymnasium is located in the heart of the facility and opens up to the commons area, giving the community a dynamic space to gather and support their local teams. The media center includes soft seating that can be easily moved for a variety of learning exercises and supports personalized and online learning. Total construction cost for the new facility is $14.5 million.
  • Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Lee’s Summit, Mo. - A progressive partnership between Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, Metropolitan Community College, and the University of Central Missouri (UCM) is reshaping the way students experience education at the new Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC). DLR Group and design partner Gould Evans created a space that focuses on learner outcomes in an immersive and rich real-life workplace experience. Through the MIC program, students begin their junior year of high school while attending Summit Technology Academy, a unique high-school program that prepares students for careers in areas such as engineering, computer science, health care, and creative sciences. In approximately the same time it takes students to complete their high school curriculum, they will have earned an associate degree from Metropolitan Community College, and can finish their four-year bachelor’s degree from UCM two years later. The graduates will also have completed three years of paid internships with prestigious Kansas City metro-area companies, which helps defray the costs of their education. The new 135,000 SF building design features 60 classrooms including shared spaces for the school district and university programs as well as spaces designated for each organization. MIC also features medical school-caliber skilled nursing labs and simulation rooms, professional quality digital media technology, high-tech engineering, biomedical, and computer science instruction areas, and an international studies area with state-of-the-art distance learning technology. The programs – networking, engineering, medical, bio medical, graphics, hospitality, and cybersecurity – are segregated into quadrants within the building and split on two floors for ease of wayfinding.
  • Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Los Angeles – The new Maywood Center for Enriched Studies (MaCES) relieves overcrowding at LAUSD schools and enables all District high schools to return to a two-semester calendar versus year-round operation for the first time in more than 30 years. The $78 million facility is the last of 131 schools to be completed under the $9 billion construction program LAUSD launched in 2000. DLR Group's design incorporates three classroom buildings, a library, gymnasium, athletic fields, parking structure, and support facilities that connect to form a central plaza. The design also celebrates the school’s culture with a Zocalo, an amphitheater outside the library building where students gather daily to socialize and perform. Each classroom building includes flexible science and chemistry labs, along with general instructional spaces that feature movable furniture that can be easily reconfigured by students and staff. After-hour secure access to the multi-purpose room, library, gym, and athletic fields creates a neighborhood center open to students and the surrounding community. The 200,500 SF school accommodates 1,200 students in grades 6-12.
  • Mukilteo School District, Everett, Wash. - In response to a new state mandate requiring school districts to offer full-day kindergarten, Mukilteo School District hired DLR Group to design Pathfinder Kindergarten Center, a 65,000 SF facility that serves 600 students. DLR Group’s design achieves the ultimate goal to eliminate time lost during transitions from space to space within the building by decentralizing services and supporting push-in specialists. The $25 million school is designed as four learning houses, with each learning house consisting of an eating zone to minimize travel time for meals and snacks. An indoor and outdoor play space shared by two houses is located immediately adjacent to each house. This gives students immediate access to play areas and the outdoors. Additionally, teachers and specialists push into the classrooms, allowing the students to stay in their respective house throughout the day. Every classroom has a break-out space either inside or directly adjacent to it, which allows specialists to work with students within their house. This child-centric design reduces daily transition time for students up to 30 minutes in a six-hour day. When extrapolated across a full school year, that results in 90 hours, or 15 full days of learning recaptured.
  • Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Neb. – The new $15 million Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium Education Building offers a space for students to connect with the natural world, providing opportunities for “adventure education” that enhances their understanding of and relationship with the animals and ecosystems around them. DLR Group’s design for the 42,000 SF Education Building exemplifies the Zoo’s education mission to enhance public knowledge of the natural world by offering full-time high school, pre-school, and kindergarten classes for up to 220 students from school districts surrounding Omaha. A large outdoor adventure area offers children a place to observe different animal actions. Hands-on, interactive learning is facilitated in a multi-purpose, high bay laboratory equipped with retractable seating, a look-through feature with views from the building entrance, and electronic shades to darken space for experience simulations. The transparency of the building’s design allows zoo visitors to observe and be inspired by the students. DLR Group provided design services in partnership with CLR Design. Kiewit Building Group, Inc. served as the project contractor. Smith Bourne and Associates, Inc. provided interior design services, and Alvine Aquatics provided life support engineering services.