It’s no secret: our world is changing, and rapidly. Today’s students are stepping into a technology-driven career landscape. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 10 million people were working in STEM-related fields in 2021 – a number which is expected to rise 11% by 2031.
How can the learning environment prepare them for it?
Hedding Grade School of Abingdon-Avon CUSD #276 is answering that question by planting “the seeds of creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking” in its students. Their first step: improving technology. For the past eight years, the school’s technology department has focused on equipping students with the most up-to-date equipment. These efforts have included everything from acquiring 1:1 devices for all students to installing Smart Panels in every classroom. Putting such tools into students’ hands early in their educational journeys improves access to information and readies students for the workforce.
Forward-thinking facility improvements have proven just as essential. Klingner has worked closely with Hedding Grade School and the District for multiple specialized designs over the past several years.
“When making facilities decisions, it is most important to me how they will impact and benefit students, teachers, and our community,” says Principal Michelle Andrews.
Recently, those facilities decisions have been making a substantial impact. Hedding Grade School, originally part of the former Hedding College, was converted into an elementary school in the early 1950s. Like many older buildings, the school has needed to adapt to modern teaching methods and technologies. Collaborating with Klingner, Hedding Grade School has developed two expansion projects: a Pre-K expansion and a gymnasium and classroom addition. Increasing their school’s footprint is allowing Hedding Grade School to keep class sizes small to deliver the dedicated attention every student deserves – and prepare them for whatever the future holds.
“The new building project [has] four additional classrooms and a media center, which will provide our students a place to work in small groups with the resources and support for 21st century learning opportunities,” says Andrews.
Along with Smart Panels, each of the new classrooms include large monitors for easy media integration. This opens the door for collaborative learning, online lesson components, and interactive educational software. Ensuring every teacher has these resources as a standard part of their classroom means all students can begin forming a solid foundation through dynamic learning experiences.
The additions are also creating a more well-rounded education. The new Pre-K program classrooms were specifically designed and customized with young learners in mind, fulfilling classroom needs as outlined by the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale checklist. Daily physical education can now be realized with the new gymnasium, which features a scoreboard and electrically controlled basketball hoops and bleachers for improved spatial flexibility. Parents also have something to cheer for with the Pre-K wing’s new separate drop off / pick up and parking.
For the school, completing these vital projects with minimal worry has been a relief.
“The best part of working with Klingner is the easy access to our project manager, Cody, who I could email and get an answer back within a very short amount of time,” says Andrews.
With every change, the building is adapting to better support children as they learn, grow, and get ready for the future. For Klingner’s team, there’s nothing more satisfying than that.
“Watching the direct impact these projects have on the [school] district and the community is exciting,” says Abingdon-Avon CUSD #276’s lead architect, Cody Basham. “We are working on the buildings to increase safety, security, and improve the building for the students and staff. Anticipating their needs in each project is something I can be proud of.”