SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. – (Sept. 7, 2017) – With school back in session students at Spring Lake Park High School returned to find a new science space. Construction on the science addition started last spring and was finished just in time for the new school year to begin. Students and teacher are excited to use this new flexible learning space that will allow for collaboration and a personalized learning area.
“This space will essentially allow our students to experience learning like they haven’t learned before,” said Steve Brady, Associate Principal of Spring Lake Park High School.
This addition to Spring Lake Park High School is one of the first major projects to be completed using funds from the nearing $50 million bond referendum district voters passed in 2016. The new space is designed to meet the needs of both teachers and all types of learners.
“We designed it with the help of parents, teachers, students, other staff members and we really wanted a functional space for multiple opportunities,” Brady explained.
“We were able to spend a lot of time doing design work to get this space ready so it’s really exciting to see it come together and see the students reactions when they show up,” said science teacher, Ann Enstad.
“The thing that I love the most is that open feel and to be able to see in the classrooms, students can see what other students are doing to model the good work that’s happening,” Brady said.
Enstad said the spaces are designed to have multiple uses.
“There’s a wide variety of spaces students can choose to work in, we have the traditional lab spaces, classrooms and then we also have a lot of flex spaces with different types of seating, a lot of our rooms open up into larger spaces so you can maybe be co-teaching in that area, or have a larger group in there which is nice,” Enstad said.
With classrooms big and small, flexible lab spaces that can be used for a variety of sciences and comfortable open spaces, teachers are looking forward to working collaboratively to meet the needs of all learners.
“This allows us to focus more on the learning platform in the world of education instead of the teaching platform. I think traditionally a classroom is thought of as four walls with the teacher up front and that’s not necessarily how people function in the real world,” Enstad said. “Collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking are all that we can focus on, teach our students and having different spaces such as these allows for things like that.”
Students got their first look at the space as they headed back to school and the teachers were happy to hear their reactions.
A lot of student reactions were ‘wow this feels like a college environment,’ which I think is great because we’re trying to promote our students for having skills in the world beyond high school, so it’s cool that they can see this applying to maybe the environment that they’ll find themselves in a couple years,” Enstad said.
All the new spaces that will be constructed in the district over the next few years will be based on helping students and teachers achieve district wide goals.
One of the initiatives that we’re focusing on as a district is personalized learning, and as I’m thinking about how I’m going to teach, and how I’m hoping my students will experience things differently, I just think that this space will enhance that experience for students and I’m really excited about differentiating some of the things that I would do and just having students be able to learn in a different environment that’s promoting collaboration and teamwork,” Enstad said.
The science addition will not be the only improvement coming to Spring Lake Park High School. The 2-story “C” building along Able Street will be redesigned. Construction on that project is scheduled to begin 2018 and will be completed in 2019.