Perkins+Will Designs New Charter School for Project Based Learning

Charles R. Drew Charter School Opens in Atlanta

Perkins+Will announces the completion of Charles R. Drew Charter School, Junior and Senior Academy. Located in the historic East Lake neighborhood of Atlanta, Drew Charter School offers a unique project based curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, innovation and problem solving.

Set on one of the highest points in Atlanta, the 205,000 square foot Drew Charter School is arranged around a centrally located atrium that connects the academies and is a common space for the entire school community. The North plaza connects the academic building to the gymnasium and auditorium and provides a dynamic setting for outdoor learning. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 525 and is used for performing arts and community events. The state-of-the-art gymnasium includes a competitive gym for the senior academy athletics, as well as a practice gym for the junior academy. An Art Garden is located adjacent to the auditorium and showcases the building’s rainwater collection design and sustainable landscaping.

Because project based learning is centered on three core steps--inquire, make and share--integrating technology was a key design element to the success of the school. At Drew, large format projection capabilities are located in labs, classrooms and public areas. Interactive flat panel displays are located in every direct instruction room. The project lab, a large flexible space outfitted with technology, presentation equipment, mobile and reconfigurable furniture, and utilities such as water and power, is intended to provide a completely flexible environment that is student centered. These labs are distributed throughout the school with each grade level having access to their own lab, and provide the building block for the educational process.

Drew Charter School is an example of a high performance school that intelligently responds to its environment while supporting educational programs. Tracking LEED Gold certification, the school features state-of-the-art building materials and systems to create an environment that provides maximum daylighting for learning spaces and maintains energy efficiencies ahead of standards.

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