Cook Country School District 104 implemented a district-wide STEAM Program initiative, and was in need of updating their facilities to support current educational standards. Walker Elementary School was the first school in the district to have their curriculum set.
Walker Elementary School’s STEAM program is broken out into two spaces: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and an Art/Music Classroom. A large barn door, with writable surface, separates the two spaces, allowing classes to work as separate units, or in conjunction. The staff wanted the ability to combine classes within the STEAM Program so they could utilize cross-curriculum techniques. In addition to the barn doors, movable wall systems, with built in technology, were used between the classroom spaces to allow for flexibility in the event that curriculum needs change. Writable surfaces were integrated on the glass, movable walls, drywall surfaces, movable furniture, and through a typical wall-mounted application. Flexible furniture allows the classroom space to quickly adapt to the current curriculum needs, whether that be through large or small group work, or individual instruction. The district desired spaces that were flexible, collaborative and technology equipped. Distinct signage and floor patterns in the corridor help call out this section of the building as the STEAM Program, giving recognition to the district’s new initiative.
ARCON assisted the district in applying for a grant to help cover a portion of the project costs. The district received over $100,000 in Title I, Part A Funding from the U.S. Department of Education, as well as additional funding from the city. The district is currently in the process of phasing the STEAM Program into the other schools.