How a school building is designed can either facilitate educational efforts or hinder them.
The current State High facility was not built to support a modern high school education. Both buildings date to the mid-20th century.
The South Building was originally built as a junior high and, years later, our Career and Technical Center was shoe-horned into whatever spaces could be found.
Recognizing this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to integrate building design with educational function, the board enlisted an educational planner, Amy Yurko, of Brain Spaces.
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Yurko spent many hours consulting with administrators, teachers and students to determine what works well in our high school and what would work better if we had the facilities to support it.
The resulting educational plan is based on the principle of “no student left unknown” and the value of connecting education to individual student interest.
The new facility will have groupings of classrooms that will create greater opportunities for the informal interactions among teachers and students that support learning yet will be flexible enough to be easily reorganized if future needs dictate.
There will be smaller spaces for collaborative work, project-based learning and displays of student work.
Our very successful CTC program, quite possibly the model for the future, will be intentionally integrated into the building design.
Our dedicated faculty have been successfully making-do for a long time. Let’s give them — and our students — a building designed for a 21st century education.
The writer is a member of the State College Area school board.