Zombies Enhance Learning at Metro High School

 
MNR hosts an annual Zombie Prom Halloween Party to raise money for disadvantaged youth both locally and globally. The event has produced more than $60,000 and has provided the opportunity for MNR to renovate several spaces at Metro High School to enhance learning.
 
Dr. Carlos Grant, Metro High School Principal said, “The area in the library where the Incubator Lab now sits was an awkward and inefficient use of space.  When MNR approached us to see if there was a project they could tackle for us, we saw this as an opportunity to redesign that space to uniquely meet several learning needs for both teachers and students.” 
 
The Incubator Lab’s design facilitates a variety of functional needs for the school including: classes, meeting space and an area for seniors to relax before classes begin.
 
Jon Brightwell, MNR member, led the building effort. “The space before was really underutilized and not user friendly.  This was a fun project to work on with our own club members as well as other local businesses,” said Jon.
     
Craig Galassi, Project Manager for Septagon Construction and MNR member, volunteered his expertise and time to complete the initial demo work. Through his leadership, Galassi organized Septagon employees, as well as some of their suppliers, to tackle the construction aspect, which saved a significant amount of time and money. “We were happy to step in,” Galassi said.  “It was really an opportunity for Septagon to get a better understanding of what is going on at Metro High School and have a better appreciation for it.”
 
Tabby Janak of OPN Architects and MNR member collaborated and worked with Dr. Grant and school faculty to design the space to meet the students’ needs. As educational technology has moved away from large desktop computers to more mobile laptops and tablets, the design takes advantage of that mobility and breaks from the industrial seating paradigm to a setting better designed for comprehension and learning.  The room uses non-traditional furniture that, according to Dr. Grant, research has found to reduce anxiety of traditional classrooms.  The more relaxed setting fosters better focus on subject matter for longer periods of time. “This was a great way for us to show the students and teachers how much we value them by making it an awesome space,” said Janak.
      
Future enhancements for the room will include repainting walls with white board paint to allow for better communication when students work on group projects as well as a projector with scrolling announcements on the outside of the room.
 
Dr. Grant would eventually like to see all the classrooms in the school have the type of flexibility for non-traditional settings like the new Incubator Lab does.