Among several renovations within the Mooresville Hugh School, the virtual learning center, centrally located within the academic wing, replaces an outdated media center. Skylights provide daylighting to ensure a comfortable and brighter learning environment. Inclusion of broadcast recording, production area and multi-media presentation labs allow access to technologies that allow students to creatively explore and communicate about their learning. The main entrance of the Virtual Learning Center provides a high level of visibility into the space and is designed to create a ‘student commons’ area at the intersection of major circulation corridors. A secondary entrance to the north, coupled with glass windows into the Collaboration Studio create a connection with Project Lead the Way and reinforce the collaborative learning culture at the heart of the Virtual Learning Center. The ability of the furnishings to become tools of the students, the teachers and coordinate with technology while conveying a progressive and comfortable image is critical to the success of the space. The spaces are organized with transparent walls and lighting to develop highly visible spaces that minimize un-supervised areas.
The project addressed several hallway congestion issues and provided for increased security for students using the media center. To address student flow to and from the cafeteria, a two-story concourse connects the cafeteria to the ‘secure-side’ of the main entrance. In addition to serving immediate circulatory needs, the concourse is designed to be multi-functional: its two-story light-filled volume can house extracurricular practices for which there is often no room in the school’s gym schedule. Utilizing a portion of the existing courtyard, the concourse design is proudly utilitarian and filled with natural light.