University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati celebrated the opening of Clifton Court Hall in September.

construction zone: classrooms/learning spaces

Oct. 11, 2023
From the September-October issue of American School & University

University of Cincinnati opens $93 million classroom building

The University of Cincinnati has opened a $93 million classroom building for students and faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences.

The 185,000-square-foot Clifton Court Hall houses several departments within the College of Arts and Sciences, in addition to 24 classrooms and 230 faculty and staff offices.

The facility has a large central atrium, pedestrian bridges and gates, specialized lab space and collaboration areas.

The atrium features a grand staircase with striking red “gates.” Large windows in the stairwells invite visitors to use the stairways instead of the elevators to improve pedestrian flow.

A large lecture hall enables students to adjust seating to work in small groups if desired. Classrooms can be configured for traditional lectures or group instruction using multiple smart TVs.

The university says the building design emphasizes functional flexibility in response to the multiplicity of program needs and continually evolving pedagogies. The facility's more than 1,000 classroom seats augment the campus-wide classroom stock, including a mix of flexible flat-floor, lecture, and auditoria spaces.

The architects are LMN Architects and KZF Design.

Paradise reborn

Nearly five years after a wildfire destroyed most of the town of Paradise, California, the Paradise Unified School District has opened a new main building for its high school.

The Chico Enterprise-Record reports that the main building at Paradise High School has 31,000 square feet of space, including 19 classrooms and student services facilities. The structure replaces the 1957 original main building; it survived the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018, but was outdated and had reached the end of its useful life.

The main building is equipped with the latest in technology — such as video and audio systems, and internet connectivity. 

The new building isn’t the only part of the campus that has been upgraded. The district has spent $64 million on modernizing the library and four science classrooms and has added a 1,500-seat gymnasium, six tennis courts and a softball complex featuring a new field surface, dugouts, bleachers, fencing and restrooms.

The architect is Studio W Architects.

Illinois district adds classrooms for full-day kindergarten

Arlington Heights (Illinois) School District 25 is building classroom additions at six elementary schools to provide space for full-day kindergarten.

Illinois lawmakers have passed legislation that requires public school districts in the state to establish full-day kindergarten by the 2027-28 school year.

The Arlington Heights district is on track to offer full-day kindergarten in 2024-25, but to do so, six of its seven elementary schools needed to be expanded.

Classroom additions are planned at Greenbrier, Olive-Mary Stitt and Windsor elementary schools; Dryden Elementary will add classrooms and expand its gym; Patton and Westgate elementary schools will get new gymnasiums as well as classroom additions.

In total, the district is constructing 25 new classrooms at the six schools.

Last year, the school district won voter approval of a proposal authorizing the sale of up to $75 million in bonds to help pay for the building additions and other capital improvements.

Indiana University is upgrading academic spaces

The Indiana University Board of Trustees has approved several facilities projects in Bloomington and Indianapolis.

On the Bloomington campus, the university will renovate portions of academic and research buildings within Wells Quad and School of Public Health-Bloomington facilities, including Sycamore Hall, Sarah Parke Morrison Hall, Music Addition and Public Health, totaling about 572,000 gross square feet.

Student spaces will be updated, including classrooms in all buildings and music practice rooms and rehearsal spaces in the Music Addition. Repairs will be made to façades and new energy-efficient building systems installed, including centralized air conditioning at the Public Health building.

In Indianapolis, renovation of existing science teaching and research laboratories and construction of new lab spaces will address growing needs for instructional and research facilities as Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis transitions into IU Indianapolis and creates a new Science and Technology Corridor.

For existing labs, necessary infrastructure upgrades and replacements, including mechanical, electrical, plumbing and air exchange systems, will be installed, A 50,000-square-foot addition also will be constructed to provide increased laboratory and related support space.

Renovations for the IU School of Dentistry, also in Indianapolis, will update portions of the original 1932 Dental School building, along with the 1960 and 1969 additions, totaling about 59,000 square feet.

The renovation will create a new Student Commons with informal learning and conference spaces, along with student-serving offices. A new Special Care Clinic with related labs and support space will train students in caring for patients with disabilities and complex medical conditions.

Iowa high school expansion will add more than two dozen classrooms and labs

The Pleasant Valley (Iowa) district is planning to build a 75,000-square-foot addition to its high school.

The Quad-City Times reports that the expansion of Pleasant Valley High in Bettendorf would ease crowding attributed to growing enrollment.

Superintendent Brian Strusz said the school will be able to house around 700 more students with the addition, which will be built onto the southwestern side of the building.

Along with 22 new classrooms, the top level of the project will add five science labs and a flexible-use classroom. The lower level will feature new locker rooms, a concessions area and public restrooms to serve football stadium guests.

Construction is tentatively planned to begin next spring, aimed at completion for the start of the 2025-26 school year. Total construction costs are projected to be about $28 million.

The architect is FRK Architects + Engineers.


Auburn University is building a 167,000-square-foot facility for its College of Education

Auburn University is constructing a College of Education building on the former site of the Hill Residence Halls on the Auburn, Alabama, campus.

The 167,000-square-foot, three-story building will provide modern and collaborative classrooms, instructional laboratories, up-to-date technology and administrative spaces for faculty and staff.

The $77 million facility is scheduled for completion in spring 2025.

“The new facility will enable the college to consolidate its departments into one building that is located at a prominent campus location,” said Simon Yendle, assistant vice president for planning, design and construction at facilities management.

The college’s building is designed around modern teaching methods and practices.

“Classroom spaces are designed to give students different learning experiences based on areas of interest,” Yendle said. “It will also offer innovative office concepts where faculty spaces are not just offices; they also include additional space for teaching to take place outside of the classroom.”

Creating a student-centered facility has been at the forefront of planning and will continue to guide decisions as the college prepares to move to its new space. The building is also designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It is designed to earn LEED silver certification. 

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

Sponsored Recommendations

Latest from Classrooms

Miami Dade College
Rescuing a Miami Masterpiece