At a recent Green and Healthy Schools Academy event, representatives from the Chartiers Valley School District administration, facility designer IKM Inc., and the Green & Healthy Schools Academy spoke about what makes the new Chartiers Valley Middle and High Schools project innovative and unique, and why all schools should be considering this type of approach.
School facility design and construction is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create places where students can excel and thrive for decades to come. Planning for the future of education takes vision, collaboration, and a willingness to set high goals for what is possible. Participants and presenters explored the process CVSD utilized to set high standards for health and performance, include and engage the CV community, and pursue the integrative design process. Attendees learned about what these all mean relative to school design, and why they should be applied on every school project moving forward.
About the Project
Chartiers Valley School District (CVSD) recently broke ground on new middle and high school buildings, which could become two of the most influential school buildings the Pittsburgh region has yet seen. “We knew a conventional approach wasn’t going to work for us,” said Dr. Brian White, CVSD’s superintendent. “These schools need to be an expression of who we are and what we hope our students will become as citizens of our region and world. To achieve that, we have to try something new.”
CVSD’s new building process is innovative due to two different but related approaches. The first was a set of guiding principles the CVSD school community agreed upon, which became the compass for setting priorities and making decisions. The second was the truly integrative design process these buildings went through. To be most effective, the integrative design of buildings requires patience, collaboration, and, above all, inclusion. To ensure broad community involvement, CVSD formed two School Design Advisory Teams comprised of students, teachers, administrators, and community members. Each team discussed what 21st century learning should look like, visited innovative schools around the country, and explored the types of learning spaces that work best.
The result? Two beautifully designed buildings that will be at the pinnacle of performance, health, and innovative learning; a community committed to and invested in education; and a prototype of what is possible when inspiring education and values-driven design come together.
Learn more about sustainability in the classroom on the Green and Healthy Schools Academy website.