Thinking Outside the Box: Adaptive Reuse for Education
Education is one of several industries facing drastic changes to meet the demands of consumers. The educational experience is evolving to provide students with next-generation learning opportunities, while, simultaneously, retail and medical industries are undergoing transformational shifts in how they serve their customers. As a result, once bustling shopping centers and medical offices sit vacant, and neighborhoods are littered with shuttered properties that previously served hundreds, or even thousands, of people every day. This scenario is unfolding across the nation, but I believe there is hope.
Topeka Center for Advanced Learning in Topeka, Kansas by DLR Group. Photo by Michael Robinson.
Many school districts are searching for additional space to serve students and educators, and over the last few years, DLR Group has partnered with multiple school districts to convert non-educational properties into innovative environments for students and staff. Although it may be considered non-traditional, the solution is a win-win for local communities. Repurposing empty structures into educational and administrative facilities breathes life back into buildings and surrounding neighborhoods. It also allows school districts to create new environments in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner.