If you have been following our blog postings, you’ve noted our commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs, and the pride we’ve shared with the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) and other project team members in bringing their award winning Institute of Science & Technology (IST) to life.  Now that the school is open, we’ve been pleased to support the interest of the education and design community with presentations and tours of the facility.  Toward the end of last year, IST hosted the USGBC’s Emerging Green Builders for a presentation and tour.  The design of high performance STEM schools is about more than just the building.  At this event, we were able to present the collaborative program and concept development we shared with the CCSD, school administrators, teachers, and the local community.  This process led to the development of a facility that is not just energy efficient, but also inspiring, specific, and adaptable to the curriculum needs of IST’s STEM program.

After the presentation, the USGBC members were given a tour of the facility to see how daylighting strategies were integrated into the classroom; the unique learning opportunities that are an integral part of the facility (including the basement mechanical room that was detailed to provide an educational opportunity for students); and the laboratory classrooms that support advanced learning.  These include a physics lab with ceiling-mounted hangers and tracks for advanced experiments; an avionics lab with flight simulators; a robotics lab; and chemistry/biology labs with lecture and experiment-based learning stations.  The tour also included the collaborative teacher lounge that is now in demand from other teachers on the Overland Campus.  Others that have toured the facility include: the Council for Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI), the Chinese Mayoral Delegation, various parent groups, and other local school districts.

In our earlier posting on the Kent Denver School, you will also find that we work hard to integrate learning into the physical structure of many of our schools.  IST was another opportunity to do so.  In addition to an active daylight tracking device that provides both light in the main stairwell as well as opportunities for experiment, there is an LED starfield of the north sky in the lobby, latitude and longitude markers integrated into the floor throughout the building, and outdoor plazas based on mathematical concepts such as the Fibonacci sequence.

IST is an excellent example of the possibilities of collaboration. On February 28,2012  we have an exciting tour and information session planned as part of the upcoming Green Schools National Conference in Denver.   Additionally, if your district, school, or professional group is interested in touring this facility at another time, please contact us and we’d be honored to assist you.

By Alan Doggett

Links to other STEM/IST posts from HAS:   STEM for All, IST Wins Peak Award, Kent Denver Science Sun Path, STEM Education- January 2011, Dr. Gubser Speaks