STEM Spaces

Location:  Chittenango, NY

Completed:  2020

Program:  STEM/STEAM

Construction Type:  Integration and Renovation

Integration and renovation of existing technology spaces to support a collaborative, cohesive STEM learning program from the elementary level through high school was the primary focus of this district-wide capital project.

At Bolivar Road elementary, the existing serving kitchen was relocated to make way for a new STEM classroom featuring technology upgrades, new casework, flexible furniture, and an interactive Lego wall. An operable partition allows the STEM room to open to the adjacent renovated cafeteria, providing even more space for students to learn and collaborate.

At the Middle School, the existing tech wing received a full renovation from floor to ceiling. The original wood shop has been transformed into a new industrial Tech Workshop, complete with state of the art shop equipment and dust collection system, a dedicated paint room with spray booth, and an adjacent Fab Lab with new 3D printers, vinyl and foam cutters, heat presses, and a large format plotter. Across the hallway, the former technology room, although large, had a poor layout that was subdivided into many small, under-utilized spaces. To improve the layout and flexibility of the space, the fixed interior walls were removed and a new operable partition installed. The moveable partition walls now allow the Tech Lab to flex between one large, open space or be divided into two classrooms when closed. Technology upgrades, LED lighting, dedicated computer workstations, new casework, and mobile furniture complete the space.

Finally, the High School’s existing science and technology rooms were completely overhauled into a highly technical and flexible STEM suite. On the exterior, a new glass curtain wall brings natural light into the suite and features a mix of transparent, translucent, and opaque panels. This design element frames specific views for both those on the inside looking out and the outside looking in. The suite is divided into three main spaces: a new Materials Processing Woodshop, a Fabrication/ Robotics Lab, and a Communications Computer Lab. The Materials Processing Woodshop is equipped with brand new shop tools, CNC machine, dust collection system, and dedicated paint room with spray booth. The Fabrication/ Robotics Lab was designed to be as flexible as possible, with mobile furniture and an operable partition wall that features both writeable and tackable surfaces. An adjacent Laser Suite with 3D printers, laser cutter, and other small fabrication tools round out the space. Finally, the Communications Lab features a large classroom space with mobile furniture, multiple computer docking stations, a print lab, and an A/V green screen and photo studio. The entire STEM suite is visually connected through strategically placed vision windows throughout and connecting doors so students can travel from one end of the suite to the other without ever stepping foot into the corridor.

Overall, the design team has achieved the District’s goal of designing flexible and innovative spaces to support a cohesive, collaborative STEM program from kindergarten through 12th grade.