Central Park STEM Elementary
Central Park Elementary is not just a building to learn in; it's a building to learn from. System components that are normally hidden within walls or ceilings are proudly on display, including plumbing pipes, HVAC ductwork, conduits, cable trays, and the boiler room. Because they were designed to be seen, our engineers took extra care to ensure that these elements organized, well-lit, and aesthetically-pleasing. Each is accompanied by signage, explaining to students what it is they are looking at, and its function in the building. In addition to teaching the students about how their school building operates, exposure to the building systems is intended to help them recognize that they are surrounded by STEM features constantly, and encourage them to start thinking and questioning them.
Other unique features of the school include STEM maker spaces in each grade, bio-swale, math equations and geometry principles embedded in the gym floor, and educational playground equipment. A hole was designed to be part of the school's curriculum, providing an opportunity for one of the grade levels to build a periscope to share with the entire school, allowing all students to see other, less-easily-accessible STEM technologies, including the section of green roof, and solar photovoltaic panels.
Central Park is now a shining example of STEM education, giving tours to other school districts across the country who borrow various pieces and concepts to implement into their own schools. The ideas, design elements, and even curriculum at Central Park are quickly spreading, serving as an incubator and helping to set a new standard for future STEM schools to come.