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STEAM Learning Environment

One of the most valuable aspects during the design process was the commitment to embrace opportunities for inspiration while creating cohesion in aligning the purpose for learning with the structural design of the building. The design of Allen ISD’s new STEAM Center makes a statement about the creativity and innovation it is designed to stimulate. 

The building contains classroom spaces that have direct access to outdoor learning areas, including patios for testing physical product designs. This access facilitates experiential learning on the outdoor trails, wetland zone, and Rowlett Creek Watershed. The site has wayfinding signage that explains scientific or mathematical concepts about the specialized features, such as identified decomposing logs, wind turbines, and bioswales. The signage is designed to be flexible promoting differentiation of content customized to the grade level of the learner. 

The site offers a living laboratory for students to experience multiple unique habitats associated with permanent water. It is designed for amphibious animals, small fish, and aquatic plants.  Pond edge planting also helps with erosion control and acts as a barrier, teaching students about prevention of erosion and sediment filtration.

Structural designs indoors support purposeful learning. Flight, whose name is inspired by the Allen Eagle mascot, is the tiered learning stair located in the center of the building offering space for students to engage in collaboration and presentations. There is a large space at the bottom of the Flight, purposefully designed to accommodate the dimensions of a robotics competition area. 

Adjacent to this space is the Learning Studio with a large moveable wall. This area serves as an outstanding site for hosting robotics competitions and its flexibility will accommodate a multitude of student learning activities. Supporting design thinking and the creation of prototypes, the site contains general makerspace areas, each named Innovation Hub, as well as the Workshop which is a specialized makerspace for high school students. 

The Collaboration Coves and Huddle Rooms represent purposefully designed learning environments promoting student collaboration. These areas contain flexible seating, whiteboards, and digital displays.  The Omni-Globe Spherical Display system is a specialized feature at the STEAM Center providing interactive presentations and visualization experiences about the natural Earth and solar system.