Finishing touches added to the School of Education

By Whitney Yount, Online Editor

August 18, 2012

One of the newest – and largest – additions to the High Point University campus this year is the School of Education, located between the Nido Qubein School of Communication and Greek Village. Construction began on this 31,000 square foot project at the start of the last academic school year. Finishing touches are still being made to the building this week, as students move in.

Both new and current education majors are excited about the program’s growth and the opportunities that this new building will bring.

Education is currently the third-most popular major on campus, and enrollment continues to be strong.

“I figured that because they built [the new education building], the education program must be prominent and growing,” said freshman Nicole Straley. This realization helped Straley to make the decision to attend HPU this year.

In the past, education students have attended most of their classes on the bottom floor of Roberts Hall. Because space was limited in Roberts, a building mainly devoted to administrative offices, standard classrooms were the norm. In addition, emerging technologies, while incorporated into the program, were not as easily incorporated into the classroom spaces.

With the extra space that the new building provides, education majors will now have the opportunity to attend classes in multiple learning environments, and they will be exposed to state-of-the-art technology.

A Mac lab is located on the second floor of the building to provide a computer station for students who require one.  SMART Boards have been installed in many of the new classrooms and can be used to display interactive presentations and other features in touch-screen style. There are also two interactive SMART Table systems installed in the Resource Center that house educational games intended to help spark an interest in learning for elementary-aged students.

In addition to the new technology it offers, the first-floor Resource Center is home to a children’s library, where students in the Education program can work on lesson plans.

On the second floor, a children’s classroom has been set up, complete with bright colors, craft and multi-purpose cupboards, and large tables to enhance group learning in school students. This room is intended to help education students see and use the different aspects of a real elementary classroom.

While primarily devoted to education, the building also houses the Department of Psychology. Upstairs, there are multiple testing rooms designed to be used in psychological studies. Classrooms and study areas are also meant for both Education and Psychology students.

The new building is not only technologically advanced and designed specifically for the study of education and psychology, but is also a LEED-certified “green” building. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification is awarded to buildings that meet certain requirements set by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in order to reduce the building’s negative impact on the environment.

According to the LEED project checklist used by the contractors, the new facility uses 30 percent less water than a standard building of its size. Energy use performance has also been improved by 24 percent, a fact that is easily noticeable when touring the building.

Many of the rooms, lobbies, and hallways have nearly floor-to-ceiling windows in an effort to provide the maximum amount of natural light for the students. Because the building is lit naturally, fewer lights are required inside, which saves electricity. The lighting system also includes automatic sensors, so lights will turn on when a person enters the room and turn off when they exit to alleviate the possibility of someone leaving the lights on in an unused area.

The LEED project checklist also states that in order to cut down on construction waste, 75 percent of leftover materials from the building were recycled or salvaged. The paint used in the building is also VOC-free and contains less air pollutants than standard paint.

HPU will continue to offer both bachelor’s and master’s programs in education, but the school has also added a doctoral program in educational leadership. It’s the first doctoral program in HPU’s history, and it starts this fall.