$22M Facility Boasts Nearly 93,000 Square Feet of Modern Learning Space
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Danielle Chastain, principal of the brand new Southeastern Elementary, 12500 Cyntheanne Road, says the new, nearly 93,000 square-foot school has been a big hit in the Fishers community.
The modern learning environment, which opened on August 7, has also touched a positive chord with many people. The welcoming atmosphere in the facility enhances the learning process.
“Our parents, students and community members have responded with great enthusiasm and excitement about the school environment,” Chastain says.
The new learning areas in the $22M facility have had an immediate positive impact.
“We have shared the importance of building community as we build the culture of our learning environment and as we design the learning spaces,” Chastain says. “This has been really well received by all.”
The two-story Southeastern Elementary is similar to other schools in the district. CSO Architects designed the building, which was funded through a construction referendum that voters passed.
Chastain notes that one of the unique features of the building is that it has a modern learning environment with a greater variety of learning spaces to better address the needs of students.
During the design of the facility, CSO Architects really focused on creating a very compact building where a high percentage of the available square footage was used for educational spaces in lieu of circulation space.
There aren’t any long corridors in classroom wings at Southeastern Elementary, which is a prominently different feature. The classroom groupings are instead clustered around a student-centered community area called an activity commons to form neighborhoods.
The Southeastern Elementary building has five of these neighborhoods, each with six classrooms, three small group rooms, a STEM room, restrooms and storage.
The neighborhoods offer a flexible, collaborative and secure learning environment that offers a variety of learning spaces such as a quiet area, a group collaboration area and active learning areas.
“The most enjoyable part of all is watching the students engage with one another in the space,” Chastain says.
“The interior of the building features a high amount of transparency between spaces to support the concept of ‘learning on display,’ and to also allow for passive supervision from the classrooms to the activity commons and small group rooms,” says Jim Funk, principal of CSO Architects. “Each neighborhood also has direct access to one of the three small multi-level interior courtyards. These courtyards bring natural light into the center of the building and offer each neighborhood a direct, secure outdoor learning connection.”
The exterior of Southeastern Elementary has made it easy for parents and school bus drivers, too.
Outside the building is a designated parent pick-up and drop-off lane that features a two-lane wide drive around the parking lot. It creates enough space to keep vehicles off the main road during the peak morning and afternoon hours. The bus lot is gated and doubles as a hard-surface play area for students during the school day.
Chastain adds that the first days of school went very well.
“We have observed a great deal of joy in learning and building relationships this week,” she says. “This is simply the best part of being in education.”