Collaborative Learning Spaces

When the Facilities Committee of the Board of Education met on May 27, one of the items presented was the schematic design of Bryan Road Elementary.

In particular, the committee considered a revision of the school design to include 3,600 square feet of collaborative space at an additional cost of $615,000.

Collaborative space encourages and facilitates students working together.  It’s multi-functional space, and supports small groups, independent work, project-based learning.  It can also be part of a media center or cafeteria.

WCPSS has been including more collaborative space in its recently built schools.  Rolesville High and the Vernon Malone College and Career Academy both feature a Learning Commons.  These spaces have moveable, flexible furniture and are often used as breakout spaces for cross-discipline work, remediation, and small group work.  Even spaces such as courtyards and dining areas are additional collaborative space, as they allow students to meet and work with each other during and outside of classroom time.

At Board of Education work session this past Tuesday, all members heard the presentation on Bryan Road Elementary.  They also heard an additional presentation from staff on the benefits of collaborative space in schools.  Many members mentioned that these collaborative spaces reflect the work environments students will join in the future.

But, here’s the rub.  Collaborative spaces are additional square footage that gets added to a school.  And additional square footage is additional cost.  What remains to be seen is how much additional cost can be shouldered by original budgets and planned contingencies.

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