The Ogden School District in Ogden, Utah, is a socially and economically diverse community of learners situated in an urban landscape that provides proximity to educational, industrial and business leaders. These conditions have contributed to establishing a district-wide effort aimed at adopting practices that help schools individualize learning for students in order to make it more meaningful and relevant. But until recently, there was one problem—their learning spaces were handcuffed by the constraints of traditional cell-block classrooms and needed a champion to develop the envisioned program. Acknowledging that the learning environments available to teachers must support the experiences a school offers its students, the District committed to building a new STEM Innovation Center at Mound Fort.
How can our district create a space that can benefit all our students, giving them individualized programs?”
As Fielding International’s integrated team of architects and educators led workshops and visioning sessions about Ogden’s students’ futures and the future of learning, it quickly became clear that Mound Fort could serve as a model of “reinvented learning” for the entire district. Adopting this belief became a driving force for the final design of the Innovation Center, focusing around a set of ‘Big Ideas’ that could act as design principles for the types of spaces the district was looking to create for its students.
As a result, the Innovation Center was designed as a tool to help model active, collaborative, and inventive teaching and learning for every inhabitant. The large, open Project Commons allows classes to spread out and build, gather to share their work, or set up more formal exhibitions. Large openings between this Commons and the Lab spaces encourage self-directed inquiry or station-based instruction, and ample transparency allows teams of teachers to supervise their students as they move through the center.