Central Services Facility
Dvorak: Great schools will be built in Natrona County
Great work was done this week during the high school charette project, according to Superintendent Joel Dvorak, as the Natrona County School District begins work to upgrade its secondary education facilities and programs.
"We had great participation from the community the last three days," Dr. Dvorak said. "It was a high-energy, very engaging, creative process that has set us up for some excellent work on designing spaces that will occur the end of May. Trustees, the district and I would like to give a big 'thank you' to all the community members who came out and contributed their time and energy. Because of their work, great schools will be built in Natrona County."
The charette was facilitated by Amy Yurko, of Brain Spaces, and John Pfluger, of The Cuningham Group. It included members of the selected architect and construction management teams (Bassetti Architects and Adolfson & Peterson for Natrona County High School; RB+B Architects and Sampson Construction for Kelly Walsh High School; and The Cuningham Group as architects of the new campus), as well as community members, NCSD trustees and district staff and students.
The goal of the charette is to provide a solid direction for the programming and facilities for secondary education in Casper. No design decisions have been made.
A "movie night" was held Tuesday at Summit Elementary, where Yurko said "provocative movies and interesting education-related media were shown," which kick-started the charette process.
"It got everyone thinking about what's possible and got everybody's creative thinking going," Yurko said. (The videos will be posted to the district's website in the near future.)
Wednesday consisted of informational presentations that discussed ideas about the latest thinking about learning and opportunities to transform the historical NCHS building into a 21st Century learning environment. District staff members also presented a summary of Path to 2025 work previously done, which got participants looking at the main ideas and vision for future graduates.
There were four guiding principles, which would serve as common ground for all three sites, Pfluger said. They are:
* Collaborative learning communities
* Inventive learning settings
* Meaningful community partnerships
* Culture of empowerment
The group also shared common interests under the guiding principles, again, that all three sites would accommodate:
* Collaborative learning communities: professional work settings, relationship-based work settings, global connection and transparency
* Inventive learning settings: flexibility to support differentiated learning and teaching, sparks curiosity, variety of settings to serve diverse needs, furnishings that are adaptable and agile, and ubiquitous and flexible technology
* Meaningful community partnerships: welcoming and appropriate space for mentorships, lifelong learning opportunities, stewardship of our planet and its resources, and service to the community
* Culture of empowerment: shared ownership of learning settings, personalized learning settings, services distributed to serve students, celebration of student achievement, and safe and nurturing environments
Though there were some concerns among some participants about some of the visions and ideas presented, Pfluger said that the four points and their interests were embraced by the whole group.
The group also discussed how the three campuses would coordinate with the entire high school education continuum (i.e. how it would be organized in a way to take advantage of the new campus' programs). Yurko said this work generated a lot of conversation, and sometimes "tightened up the room." She said more discussion will be held about this at the charette the end of May.
"It's about working through the relationships of the three locations," Pfluger said. "It's the idea about flow and relationships."
Thursday's work saw the groups working through different "day-in-the-life" scenarios, where they put themselves in the shoes of students who will call this new high school setting "home."
Participants will reconvene May 24 through 26, again at the Events Center, for the next step of the charette process. All sessions are open to the public. If you have questions about the process, please call 253-5370.