The Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy is a 21st century school specifically tailored to students planning for higher education. The curriculum combines high school and transferable college courses. The design mirrors a collegiate environment, giving students varied academic and social experiences.
The building is made up of a series of academic and social spaces with a central commons area. These separate areas make it feel like a multi-building campus, similar to a college, while keeping the students in a secure environment. The money saved in square footage was used to incorporate high-end finishes—further enhancing the atmosphere. An enclosed plaza and the elimination of lockers contributed to that collegiate feel.
With multiple spaces for informal learning, the design reinforces how important unstructured time is. Open visibility to all spaces allows staff to maximize supervision, providing transparency and accountability, while still encouraging self-directed learning. And the students have the opportunity to grow without obvious, direct supervision. Upon graduating, students will be better prepared for the college environment.