Stratford’s Innovation Center & STEM Wing
Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, Stratford Middle School students began experiencing improved learning opportunities as the school’s former science labs and Library Learning Center were entirely renovated into a first-of-its-kind STEM Wing and Innovation Center, respectively. Stratford Middle School opened in 1988, and since then the way students are taught changed greatly. After construction, both spaces now feature cutting-edge designs and modern features that will make them unique, flexible, and comfortable learning spaces with a focus on providing more modern and relevant learning opportunities for students for years to come.
STEM Wing Designed to Educate and Engage Future Ready Students
With career opportunities abounding in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, Community Consolidated School District 93 (CCSD93) surveyed stakeholders in 2016, finding that 85% of parents and 75% of community members surveyed agreed that CCSD93 should add a dedicated space in its middle schools for STEM learning. A committee of school staff, CCSD93 administrators and School Board members, and the project’s architect worked to create a flexible space built with modern and future STEM concepts in mind, fitting the needs of any learning opportunities that Stratford Middle School students will be challenged to take on.
The resulting STEM Wing features six STEM labs and a large group Research & Design Room taking the place of the five traditional science labs and small resource room that previously occupied the space. With embedded technology, dedicated hallway workspaces, moveable and flexible furniture, and collapsable glass walls, the versatile space is can now meet the needs of a wide variety of projects that the previous science wings could not.
Students now use the spaces to work independently or collaboratively on projects that require them to design and to build, interact with robotics, apply computer coding skills, and more. This unique state-of-the-art facility is the first of its kind in DuPage County.
Modern Innovation Center
A committee of Stratford Middle School staff, CCSD93 administrators and School Board members, and the project’s architect met numerous times to collaborate on the LLC’s redesign. After researching 21st century learning spaces, the group created plans for the resulting modern Innovation Center for students. This hub for learning, sharing, collaborating, creating, and innovating boasts features that are conducive to student learning and can accommodate an array of learning environments, depending on what’s needed. The improvements include:
- Natural lighting from an installed roof skylight
- Access to 21st century learning tools and technology infused throughout
- Dedicated spaces for video production and technology help
- A greenhouse
- A domed virtual reality room
- Comfortable, flexible, and ergonomically correct seating
- Aesthetically pleasing interior, including inspiring colors, natural looking floors, and varying ceiling heights
- An open concept featuring moveable seating and tables to accommodate any setup
Safer Front Entrance
As part of the project, the school’s front entrance also received a renovation to provide students more protection from the elements, with additional changes being made to offer improved entrance security and greater student safety.
The entire project offers students unprecedented learning opportunities and helps to meet CCSD93’s Strategic Goals of providing a relevant education for all students and optimal learning environments.
CCSD93 schools are committed to regularly evaluating modern and future student needs to keep its learning spaces relevant for its students.