July 2nd, 2014
What once was a dark and uninspired basement has been renovated and transformed into the new STEM Center at El Camino College. The HMC design team partnered with the college’s leadership to re-envision the under-utilized space to create a tutorial center that supports the college and surrounding school districts’ goal of enhancing student success in science, technology, engineering and math subjects.
The new 9,334-SF STEM Center contains four group learning areas, four self-study areas, a large collaboration lounge, three meeting rooms, three classrooms, four faculty offices and a computer lab with 21 stations. The new STEM Center will also house the successful Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program and provide STEM enrichment and outreach activities.
June 17th, 2014
By Kate Diamond, FAIA, Principal and Adrienne Luce, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and President HMC Designing Futures Foundation
What kinds of learning environments support, encourage and engage students of all ages in creative explorations? What is the difference between a classroom that frames rote learning and a learning space (indoor or outdoor) that celebrates and facilitates project-based, collaborative creativity? Is there a single “teaching station” in the 21st century classroom or does the teacher roam to engage students at multiple points where the students are teaching each other?
Recently, a group from HMC (that included ourselves, Deborah Shepley and Thomas Ferrer) attended State of Stem + Arts Education, a half-day conference that was organized by the LA Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, USC STEM Consortium, Southern California Grantmakers, L.A. Regional STEM Hub and the California STEM Learning Network. As described in the event announcement, “Business leaders across California and the nation are advancing STEM-based agendas as workforce development priorities. They realize it is a business imperative to ensure that there is a pipeline of workers with the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century in order to compete in a global economy.” The event brought together more than 200 business, education, community and arts leaders to discuss the economic significance of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics also known as “STEAM” education.
>>Continue reading for a synopsis of our favorite presentations from the conference.
April 23rd, 2014
From advancements in technology to heartbreaking tragedies, the drivers of today’s educational facilities are far different from what they were just a few years ago. Changing technologies and a greater interest in providing safe, healthy, sustainable schools to foster 21st century learning is creating a new vision for the modern school. School Construction News recently spoke with HMC Pre-K-12 Education Practice Leader John Nichols and several others in an Architect Roundtable about trends in school design.
When asked about some of the latest trends in school design, John responded: “There is greater flexibility in school design and greater use of all spaces on a school campus to support anytime, anywhere learning. Design is now focused on greater flexibility of classroom spaces and furnishings to support a variety of instructional delivery methods (project-based learning, small group instruction, etc.). There is also a trend toward greater transparency of the educational process through increased glazing and operable walls to pique student’s curiosity. Schools are also increasing technology applications due to Common Core assessment needs and are witnessing greater bandwidth requirements due to increased use of personal devices. Libraries are also being replaced with learning commons.”
Read more about what John and the others had to say about:
// Regional school design trends
// How the increasing inclusion of technology in schools and curriculum is impacting school design
// The biggest drivers in school design today
// Schools’ interest in green design
// How schools are taking more of an interest in updated security measures
March 6th, 2014
Last week, HMC’s Pre-K–12 practice received two design awards at the C.A.S.H./AIACC Leroy F. Greene Design and Planning Awards Ceremony in Sacramento. The firm was honored with Awards of Excellence for Hillcrest High School and the Pioneer School.
Hillcrest High School, Alvord Unified School District
Hillcrest High School is a high-tech academic hub and community resource in Riverside. A separate ninth grade academy nurtures new high school students, while teacher collaboration rooms allow for the development of a rigorous mathematics curriculum and hands-on science program. The school also features a range of joint-use facilities, making it a vital community asset.
During the awards ceremony we took detailed notes on the jury’s comments. Below are some of the key points that made Hillcrest High School a standout project:
// Project resulted from a comprehensive master plan supporting district’s concept of choice
// Created a high school with an emphasis on science and math
// Provision of teacher collaboration spaces allowed a higher classroom utilization rate
// Angled building placement resulted in appropriate solar orientation and also reduced scale of building frontage, increasing overall “curb appeal”
// Created a real university feel through building placement/massing scale and configuration of outdoor spaces
Pictured L to R: John Nichols (HMC), Herb Calderon (Alvord USD Assistant Superintendent), Angel Hosband (HMC)
Pioneer School, Delano Union School District
Built on a hardship budget, the academic villages at Pioneer School lead students through their educational progression from Pre-K through eighth grade. Grade levels are strategically distributed across the campus and given their own identity, and a strong emphasis was placed on creating outdoor learning environments that allow learning to happen everywhere. Integrating a joint-use gymnasium and library into the campus for use by the adjacent high school and surrounding community enhances the opportunities for area residents and students to learn, while conserving community resources.
Jury comments on Pioneer School:
// Integrated planning was critical to comply with hardship budget and fit in/align with already-existing adjacent schools
// Site planning created a nice progression through educational journey, from Kindergarten onward
// Break down of spaces allows for flexibility
// This is modern architecture that will stand the test of time
// Playful design is fun without being too fussy
// Nice site plan—avoids rigidity and symmetry
// All this on a hardship budget: nicely done!
Pictured L to R: John Nichols (HMC), Jenny Hanna (Kern County Facilities Office of Ed), Andy Thompson (HMC), Dr. Robert Aguilar (Delano USD Superintendant), Frank Herrerra (Delano Board Member), and Jack Tillman (Delano Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation Director)
February 24th, 2014
The February issue of the C.A.S.H. Register features a profile on South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) and it use of the HMC/Project Frog Impact building. After passing Measure J, a $162 million bond to replace aging portable classrooms across multiple campuses, the district was faced with answering the questions:
// How do you deliver 250,000 square feet of desperately needed school facilities when incremental change will not suffice?
// How do you bring innovation to a district that serves more than 9,000 students without the luxury of time or extensive resources?
Frustrated with current modular solutions but unable to accept the prolonged schedule associated with traditional construction, the district sought an innovative solution that could fulfill their goal to provide healthy and flexible, permanent school buildings for current and future students. Ultimately, the district found its answer in the Impact buildings, Project Frog’s next generation building platform specifically designed around the needs of 21st century learning.
HMC partnered with Project Frog on the design of Impact. The two companies worked hand-in-hand during the system design phase to integrate HMC’s architectural and domain expertise with Project Frog’s component system criteria. More than 300,000 square feet of new Impact buildings for education have been specified for both portable replacement and new campus building solutions in California.
February 20th, 2014
The Coalition for Adequate School Housing (C.A.S.H.) is hosting their 35th annual conference February 24-26, 2014 and HMC’s Alex Parslow is presenting, “Take Control or Be Controlled – Maintaining Our Investment.” HMC’s Kevin Wilkeson is participating in panel titled, “You CAN Get There from Here! Transforming Existing Schools, One Step at a Time” and Lee Salin is a panel member on, “The Top 10 Ways You are Screwing Up Your Construction Program (and Probably Don’t Know It).”
February 6th, 2014
The AIA San Joaquin chapter recently recognized Delano USD’s Pioneer School with an Award of Merit in Education Design. Built on a hardship budget, the academic villages at Pioneer School lead students through their educational progression from Pre-K–8 to the neighboring high school. Grade levels are strategically distributed and given their own identity, and a strong emphasis was placed on creating outdoor learning environments that allow learning to happen everywhere.
January 20th, 2014
HMC and the Fresno County Office of Education were recently honored with a CalSPRA Excellence in Communication Award for the article, “Build Understanding, Build Successful Projects,” which was published in HMC’s School News. CalSPRA (California School Public Relations Association) is the professional organization of communications professionals from school districts and county offices throughout California. The organization strives to advance education through responsible communication that creates better public understanding and support of public education.
HMC partnered with the Fresno County Office of Education on the article “Build Understanding, Build Successful Projects” to inform California school districts and counties, along with A/E/C partners, about the collaborative dialogue that is going on at the Central Valley Successful Projects Workshops. The goal of the workshops is to educate the K-12 sector on the construction process, while also educating the A/E/C industry on the issues that K-12 clients face. Defining each party’s perspective and having empathy for their roles and specific challenges allows the entire project team to work toward win-win solutions, rather than disputing decisions throughout the course of a project. The article outlines the goals and agenda of the four-part workshop series, addresses the future vision of the workshop organizers, and concludes with an inside look of lessons from a variety of attendees. The CalSPRA award jurors commented that article was clear, engaging writing for a complicated subject, and that the use of quotes as lessons learned was insightful.