FGM Architects congratulates Community High School District 155 on the dedication of their new 1,345 sf business incubator lab at Prairie Ridge High School. Completed August 5, the school held a dedication ceremony on September 20 welcoming students, faculty, administration and board members to the new lab space designed by FGM Architects.
Led by Vice Principal Lisa Connell, the dedication featured a concept to completion presentation by the Department Chair Kevin Koeppen and a program presentation by teacher Bryan Peckhart, followed by a student presentation, Q&A and a ribbon cutting.
In need of a renovated space to accommodate Prairie Ridge’s new business incubator program—a robust learn-by-doing model of education in business—the school desired an environment where students participating in the program felt like they were in a real-world work setting with furnishings and technology that fit the part.
Faculty leaders wanted students to feel as though they had left the school when entering the space. The lab’s finishes are intended to create an upscale, professional environment with an edgy, progressive attitude. The colors are high contrast for enhanced drama—rich and saturated, not your typical vanilla school palette. Exposed structure and sleek LED light fixtures in floating ceiling clouds add an urban, high-tech feel. The floors are carpeted in dark, bold, large scale tile patterns with deep colors. The walls feature Deko marker board surfaces for team brainstorming. These features create a space that students are inspired by and comfortable in.
Formerly a computer lab no longer needed by the school, the footprint of the room was ideal to accommodate up to 30 students working in teams of five, including a 230 sf break-out space for private team meetings or mentor phone calls and a 140 sf printing and storage area. The lab is on display through existing windows along the corridor—a planned feature used to advertise both the space and the business development program.
The lab’s furniture is very flexible to create an ever-evolving space. The tables have flip and nest tops that can be easily stored out of the way for big events or rolled out in the middle of the lab for display or large group training and meetings. Big, comfy lounge chairs in the room’s center are designed to permit kids to sit on the arms and can by linked together to form sofas. Adjustable task chairs with upholstered seats provide students with professional quality seating.
Funded by generous donations from the Foglia Family Foundation and The Domek Group, the lab features casework designed by architecture students at Prairie Ridge High School. The design process was about the collaboration of ideas and consensus building, particularly on the room’s layout, technology, finishes and furniture. The lab’s success is greatly attributed to the contributions of students, faculty, administration and board members.