Georgetown ISD—Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning
The project is an adaptive re-use of a historic and iconic 1924 building. Formerly a high school, junior high and elementary school, today, it is the district’s center for leadership and learning. It focuses wholly on adult learning, redefining the look, feel and purpose of training space. The design is rooted in the district’s Learner Profile, emphasizing choice and voice. It draws on context and innovation, maintaining building integrity while creating progressive learning environments.
During design, the team considered department organization, adjacencies of focus and collaborative space, and integrity of materials. An auditorium is the central feature, signifying the convergence of history and future. The open and adaptable design mimics transparency and connectivity found in the district’s schools. Raw elements original to the building were celebrated. Existing clay tiles, bricks, concrete structure and wood floors were expressed beautifully against contrasting clean lines.
Each learning space can be manipulated to meet a variety of needs. While primarily a training and testing ground for the school district, other organizations are drawn to its potential and utilize the space for educational summits. Office areas are scaled-down versions of the professional learning center; peers collaborate frequently within the open environment. As walls were torn down, the building revealed a richness in the material palette that inspired unique execution in design.
Sustainable solutions were selected based on context, comfort and long-term impact. LED lighting is used throughout; in the auditorium, original light fixtures were removed, retrofitted with LED bulbs and re-installed. A Red-List free carpet was selected for office spaces, contributing to improved indoor air quality. Motion sensors control lighting, and high efficiency mechanical units and HVAC controls manage temperature schedules, reducing energy usage.
The building holds special meaning to the community; many local residents attended school there, others appreciate the architecture and history. It was important to celebrate the past while considering the future. The exterior remained largely untouched while the interior was designed to represent the values and future of the school district. It is also a community building, with spaces for people to gather, appreciate the site and support education.
The district developed a Learner Profile; each new school building was defined by their vision for choice and voice in learning. The leadership and learning center was no different. Many voices were heard—in the form of formal meetings and impromptu discussion. Leadership and personnel talked about efficiencies, collaboration, how to group departments, closed door versus open door, who needs private space and who can use a focus room. A lot of back-and-forth shaped the solution.
The leadership and learning center blends past with future; it reflects a school district that already has embraced a progressive approach to instruction and professional learning. The opening of the center is the next step forward in empowering educators who in-turn inspire students. The facility has removed barriers; and, within a few short months of opening, behaviors are changing, more feedback is being asked for and given, and adults are modeling collaboration greater than ever before.
Star of Distinction Category Winner