Eastvale STEM Academy

Eastvale, California

Labs and specialized learning spaces reflect the goals of educators and the community

The new three-story Eastvale STEM Academy (eSTEM) is a multi-layered series of connected co-labs and flexible learning environments, where students can solve problems in bright, vibrant environments that promote creative thinking.

The design process started with an extensive engagement process with educators, students and the community, with a focus on developing students for the region’s workforce. Labs on the ground floor focus on professional settings, with specialized environments designed to support the school’s bio-medical technology, healthcare and engineering pathways. In the health labs, students work with real hospital beds, blood draw chairs, virtual cadavers and other equipment to support specific skills.

The eSTEM campus occupies a three-acre site that provides a unique identity for the academy, as well as direct access to the existing Eleanor Roosevelt High School campus. Learning studios are adaptable and varied to allow for multiple teaching modalities and the ability to evolve with changes in the pedagogy. Labs are connected and zoned largely by furniture, ceiling changes, casework, and partial-height and operable walls.

The combination of numerous, dispersed and varied learning spaces, coupled with visibility and access, encourages learning and collaboration to happen everywhere. Outdoor learning spaces take many forms and can be found on each floor of the three-story campus, including floating learning pods. Glass balconies on the upper levels can be used for classes or experiments. On the ground floor, rollup doors allow teachers and students to easily expand projects into the outdoor spaces, using equipment and desks on wheels. Most areas include writable surfaces. Technology is plug and play and available throughout the complex.

The campus’ design promotes sense of fun and exploration. Hidden messages were added to spaces, designed to provoke and inspire thought while generating a strong sense of school identity. The horizontal sunshades mimic a heartbeat on an EKG. The color pattern on the metal panel cladding is inspired by brainwaves measured on an EEG. Glass panels in the entry exhibit binary code that, when deciphered, talk about the school’s dedication to the six Cs of Critical Thinking.

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