LPA-Designed Eastvale STEM Academy Named James D. MacConnell Award Finalist

The LPA-designed Eastvale STEM (eSTEM) Academy in Eastvale, California, has been named a finalist for the James D. MacConnell Award, one of the most prestigious awards for school planning.

Presented by the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), the James D. MacConnell Award honors a project that “truly engages the stakeholders in all phases of the project while enhancing understanding of the interconnections of environment, learning, and teaching.” The award is unique in its recognition of a wide range of factors in evaluating campus design, with an emphasis on comprehensive planning, support for programming and the functionality of educational spaces.

There are four finalists for the national award. The winner will be named Oct. 7 in a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, part of A4LE’s annual Association for Learning Environments LearningSCAPES conference.

eSTEM is a three-story campus designed around an open courtyard, with a multilayered series of connected co-labs and flexible indoor-outdoor learning spaces that promote creative thinking and prepare students for jobs in the real world.

Eastvale STEM Academy 9

“The eSTEM campus is the result of long collaboration between designers, educators and the community, which makes this recognition extra special,” says LPA Director of K-12 Kate Mraw. “The focus was always on developing learners equipped with the skills for success.”

The eSTEM design process included local professionals and university representatives, which helped develop the emphasis on biomedical technology, healthcare and engineering pathways. The design focused on collaboration, access, partnership and flexibility, creating learning studios that support multiple teaching modalities.

“Designing with the student in mind led the stakeholder group and design team toward several educational innovations, without compromising the program offerings,” says LPA Project Designer Stephanie Matsuda-Strand. “It’s been gratifying to see teachers and students embrace the spaces and make them their own.”

The eSTEM design has already earned several industry honors, including an LEsolution Award for New Learning Environment from A4LE, an Award of Merit from AIA-OC and an Award of Honor from the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH).