West Virginia University was recently awarded funding to support the development of a collaborative classroom through Steelcase Education. The Steelcase Active Learning Center is envisioned as a future hub for instructional innovation, twenty-first century learning and faculty development on the Evansdale Campus.
The Steelcase Active Learning Center, located in the Health and Education Building and valued at $67,000, will feature flexible workspaces designed for collaborative learning and problem-solving. The physical space will support the use of mobile devices, distance learning technologies, and other interactive features to facilitate a more fluid teaching and learning environment for both students and instructors.
The design of non-traditional classrooms presents a range of unique challenges and opportunities. “To achieve an active learning space, the classroom must be versatile and flexible. Designing a room with mobile furniture promotes collaboration and provides students with new and exciting learning experiences,” Luke Cunningham, campus planner with facilities management, said.
The project involves the re-purposing of an existent computer lab that had limited utility from an instructional standpoint. With construction set to begin in early July, the project team has taken additional steps to prepare the space for renovation including classroom design, furniture orders and the preparation of architectural renderings. The space will also feature a WVU-themed mural, branding and colors.
In describing the space, Shelley Johnson, interior design manager, says that the Active Learning Center will attract students and faculty from various disciplines. “Using bright colors and current design elements with innovative collaborative furniture, this space will be a great showcase for the University and a useful environment for generations to come,” Johnson said.
With renovations expected to be completed this summer, initial course offerings in the Steelcase Active Learning Center are scheduled for fall 2019. WVU will formally celebrate the facility opening in late October.
This partnership reflects WV Forward efforts to provide high quality, educational opportunities that meet learner needs by preparing them with the essential skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s dynamic workforce and global economy.The grant from Steelcase Education was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit corporation that solicits and administers private gifts on behalf of the University.