Sartell-St. Stephen Independent School District, located in central Minnesota, is one of many school districts across the country that recognized a need to dramatically evolve traditional classrooms to create a variety of specialized and flexible learning environments to meet the needs of next-century learners.

Cuningham Group Architecture, in collaboration with engineering and architecture firm IIW-Minnesota, is designing a new 1,350-student high school that is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.

Early in the design process, the district’s administration, staff, and community members determined that there was a need to create innovative and collaborative spaces to best foster next-century learning. Reimagining how all learning spaces—from traditional classrooms to the Media Center—function was a pivotal design direction for the new school. All spaces were designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind so that over time, as technology evolves, students are continually exposed to the most relevant technology.

How to design a school for next-century learning

The design and programming of the school came out of a comprehensive community-engagement process. Cuningham Group worked with a planning committee that consisted of more than 70 members representing all major stakeholder groups in a series of workshops where they shared their vision, standards, criteria and priorities for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District’s facilities over the next 10 to 15 years.

About the Author:

Tyler Whitehead is a registered architect and a member of Cuningham Group’s education studio. As a creative professional, he has a unique ability to translate programmatic needs into architectural reality. His approach promotes design integrity and quality control throughout the duration of a project. He is dedicated to working closely with clients so they are invested in all aspects of the design process, promoting the delivery of thoughtful solutions that are in line with the client’s vision.


Add your opinion to the discussion.