Cumberland Academy

Tyler, Texas

Fostering flexibility, access, collaboration and engagement on campus

The design for the new Cumberland Academy, a K-12 school in Tyler, Texas, promotes active learning, supports and celebrates the school’s culture of the arts, and creates a campus that will be part of the community for generations.

After a series of workshops with educators and the community, LPA’s design was developed around the theme of “FACE” — flexibility, access, collaboration and engagement. The design takes full advantage of the wooded site, creating a variety of outdoor social and learning environments. Interactive labs are co-located with classrooms, providing opportunities for hands-on learning. Athletic facilities were developed at the same time, representing the interests of students and the community; in addition, a 750-seat performing arts center opened in the summer of 2020.

The heart of the new academic wing is a 3,600-square-foot makerspace. Students flow through the workshop zone, which is anchored by a large stool-height work island and readily available digital technology. Art labs on either side of the workshop are separated by glass and garage-style roll-up doors. Expansive glass windows and doors connect the spaces to the outdoor quad. Learning spaces were designed for flexibility and bringing together different disciplines.

The athletic complex was designed in conjunction with the academic spaces. The goal from the start was to support the school’s unique instructional culture and create a campus that will be part of the community for generations.

The school’s design maximized the views of the outdoors, recognizing the correlation with natural light and improved student achievement. The design also includes a system to capture and channel rainwater, one of several sustainable elements of the new campus.

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