Learning stairs are on the rise and being designed in more and more educational environments as a means of promoting social interaction and connection, as well as physical activity and wellness. The versatile nature of the learning stair provides both a formal and informal area for gathering, teaching, transporting, socializing and performing in a highly flexible, amphitheater-style environment. This is not a novel idea, as the history of stairs dates back to the first human structures, yet learning stairs are now re-surfacing as an active design concept in educational environments becoming a multipurpose, student-centered spaces.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has become a household name in real estate, design and building circles. Another “best practices” program for school design, which is less widely used but gaining traction in the industry, is Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).
CHPS is a national movement to improve student performance and the entire educational experience by building the best possible schools. The goal of CHPS is to “fundamentally change the design, construction and operation of schools to: protect student and staff health, and enhance the learning environments of school children everywhere; conserve energy, water, and other natural resources and reduce waste, pollution, and environmental degradation.”
We have been working with CHPS for seven years and truly see the value in an alternative rating system that helps school districts and the project teams design, construct and operate high performance schools.
HCM’s Adele Willson and Ara Massey published an article for the Colorado Real Estate Journal on this innovative program. Read it here.