Katy ISD—Robert R. Shaw Center for STEAM
The 24,000 SF new facility, is a free standing building adjacent to the districts’ Career and Technology Center. The building contains 8 project bays which act as design/build space for activities related to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, and is designed for future expansion. Flex classroom space is provided for further collaboration and instruction, as well as a centralized high bay space for project testing and demonstrations, community events, and staff development.
As a district-wide multi-use facility, the vision for the STEAM center was to create a unique unconventional learning environment that inspires and empowers students. The design reflects that vision through its flexibility, use of technology and transparency, which sparks interest in the activities that happen within it and foster collaboration between user groups and the community at large. The facility is centrally located to provide equal access to all user groups.
This facility supports a wide array of activities—project building, exhibition, competition, community assembly and professional development. The central high bay space connects the 8 project bays with glass walls supporting collaboration and learning-on-display through transparency. Large overhead doors connect project bays transversely for flexibility and teaming opportunities. Flex classrooms and shared shop allow students to think, model, and make with fluid access to tools and build space.
The STEAM Center has a fully integrated approach to discovery based learning that prepares students for a successful future. In early planning stages of the project, stakeholders were engaged through divergent and convergent planning exercises. Activity mapping for future flexibility helped insure functionality, flexibility, transparency, and connectivity. Consensus was then built between all stakeholders which lead to designing one building with infinite possibilities.
Planned as central hub for district events, this building is centrally located. The Facility has been recognized as a Texas Collaborative for High Performance School designed facility , ensuring a healthier more efficient learning environment. Control of energy in rooms, LED lighting, efficient water fixtures, reflective cool roof, and shared parking with an adjacent facility are a few of the sustainable design elements. 101.25 tons of waste was also diverted from landfills during construction.
With a small footprint of only 24,000 SF and a budget of 4.9 million dollars, this facility maximizes value by serving all the students in the district, eliminating the need to build individual facilities at each campus. It is also highly utilized by robotics clubs and other community events, and was designed for future expansion. Its sustainable features, such as LED lighting and highly durable materials, minimize operating and maintenance costs, in fact, it is a TX CHPS Designed facility.
This building is an incubator for innovation – for the students, district and community. The environment supports students allowing them to engage in science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities without limiting access to space, tools, and knowledge. “Creativity, communication, flexibility and collaboration are promoted as roles are explored and responsibilities rotated – teachers can be learners, students can be leaders, mentors can be collaborators”-Stakeholder Vision Statement.
Star of Distinction Category Winner