Aging schools throughout the country are boasting outdated and uninspired designs that lack the modernization and flexibility today’s students have come to expect.
To address infrastructure needs and enhance learning environments, the South Orangetown Central School District (SOCSD)—a repeat client partner to CPL—sought to reinvigorate its various schools with the commissioning of several Capital Improvement Projects (CIP).
The vision for each project was clear: create sophisticated, tech-forward, multi-purpose spaces that prominently represent the district’s brand identity, sparking a more enriching and communal learning experience for students.
With extensive knowledge of the district’s brand requirements, CPL was well-versed in the preferred design and material choices. Influenced by guidance from key stakeholders and established collaboration, our team led the critical transformation of several school spaces, including the conversion of the district’s middle school library from a closed-off and aging room to a more welcoming, flexible space suitable for students, staff and Board of Education members alike.
“We envisioned an open and inviting library that would be versatile enough to serve as both a learning and meeting space, which was a crucial element requested by the district,” said Lauren Tarsio, AIA, Project Manager at CPL.
Completed designs for the 2,420 sq. ft. space feature breakout zones with secluded nooks for small group gatherings or private study and enlarged side rooms for conference meetings. A myriad of technological additions was also integrated, including TVs, drop-down projection screens, smart writable surfaces and customizable furniture, further supporting a more modernized design goal.
Additionally, the prominent color scheme presented throughout the space was intentionally chosen to bring the district’s brand identity forward.
“It was pretty crucial for us to find creative ways to integrate their red, gray, white and black colors into elements like the flooring, tilework, wall paint, ceiling fixtures and even the furniture,” explained Tarsio. “Those choices merged well with an opened ceiling and the inclusion of floor-to-ceiling glass walls, which added volume to the space and invited plenty of natural light in.”
Creative branding efforts made their way from inside the contemporary library to outside―specifically on the district’s high school’s turf field. To bolster spirit and magnify community pride, our team helped strategize the central placement of the school’s logo and color palette in the endzones, netting and goalposts.
“After years of wear and tear, the high school turf needed a significant upgrade,” said Tarsio. “The district looked to us to navigate them in the right direction, especially when it came to electing a new infill system.”
Leveraging data and feedback from stakeholders as well as guidance from experts specializing in synthetic sports turf replacement, CPL led the district toward confidently selecting an environmentally conscious coconut infill engineered for controlled performance and impact safety.
This strategic advisement empowered by partnerships is what yields the most impactful K-12 spaces―a concept that was also proven true with the deliberate renovation of the high school’s aging cafeteria.
The former, outdated space was transformed into a cafeteria reminiscent of a food court complete with barstool seating options on one side, and booths on the other, giving students the flexibility of varying socializing atmospheres. True to the SOCSD’s desire for assimilated spaces, thoughtful branding efforts resulted in a contemporary dining environment filled with vibrant school coloring.
“For the past several years, CPL has been an invaluable partner towards guiding our school district’s long-range master capital planning,” said Dr. Robert Pritchard, SOCSD Superintendent. “The K-12 team has promoted trust and confidence with their professionalism, technical expertise, and above all, their learner-centered approach to facilities improvement.”
Students spend hours of their week, year after year in K-12 schools, so it is imperative that their learning environments not only support their academic successes but are also versatile enough to create purposeful, lasting memories. Guided by invested partnerships, CPL repeatedly propels high-stakes projects from conceptual ideas into refreshed, innovative educational spaces that are well-equipped to elevate the learning experience for K-12 students and staff.