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Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional Studies

Situated among cornfields, this rural Nebraska school pairs a progressive pedagogy with an unconventional
school design. Challenged with designing a high school, the design team traded discrete classrooms for
flexible learning environments.

Void of siloed classrooms arrayed along anemic corridors, this solution embraces an entirely open floor plan
with movable furniture and nodal learning environments. The configuration enables various teaching and
learning styles. Teachers drift from area to area, similar to the student pathways. What ensues is a vibrant
learning environment full of impromptu learning and exposure. Wall surfaces can be written on, access to
technology is readily available, furniture is configurable and virtually any space can double as a learning
environment. To reinforce the vibrancy of instructional areas, visibility from one discipline to another is
maintained through plan adjacencies and sectional relationships. Volumetric undulations excite the spatial
condition, adding to the vibrancy of learning. The result is a space that reflects an environment akin to a
contemporary workplace rather than a school.

The interior is flooded with light through a clerestory and east windows supporting the premise natural light
enhances learning ability. Intense east solar gain is addressed by canting the windows to diffuse the light while
affording views to the rural landscape.

The design of this new high school breaks through clichés and stereotypes of rural schools, allowing student
development to flourish in ways that surpass those of the conventional school design.

Media

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Location

Fairfield, NE

Year Completed

2018

Owner

South Central Unified School District

Size

40,000 sq. ft. addition

BVH Team

"The purpose of the Nebraska Center for Advanced Professional Studies is to personalize education for each student around their passion and strengths."

Dr. Randy Gilson | Superintendent, South Central Unified School District