Global Competitiveness, Community Roots

Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, Champaign, IL

With a rapidly evolving global economy, school districts must prepare students to succeed in an increasingly competitive global environment. As a result, it is necessary not only to re-think curricula but also facilities to support a multidisciplinary approach, greater flexibility, and the integration of sophisticated technology. A major focus is fostering STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning, recognizing that these jobs are growing exponentially faster than others and are key to solving the world’s greatest challenges.

The Booker T. Washington STEM Academy’s physical environment strengthens a STEM-centric, project-based learning community, encouraging student curiosity and creativity through hands-on learning, creative problem-solving and a high level of student, teacher and peer engagement. CannonDesign shaped these spaces to support the whole child approach to learning, based on the core principle that every child deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. The three learning studios open onto a communal workspace, serving as a piazza for discussion and collaboration.

The STEM lab has immediate access to an outdoor learning area designed to integrate the school’s science curriculum with its surroundings, fostering a sense of community and environmental stewardship in the students.

The school is symbolic of what can happen when Unit 4 and the community work together for our students. This is an outstanding 21st Century world-class school.

Robert Malito, Interim Superintendent

Together, we create design solutions to the greatest challenges facing our clients and society.