It’s possible to give industrial students an innovative educational experience while designing for different learning styles
By Paula Pittman
I love working on projects for education clients. There’s just something rewarding about designing a building that aids in someone’s career development and personal growth. How can I help students perform their best? How can I design for different learning styles?
These are the kinds of questions that my team and I asked while working on the new Heavy Equipment Centre of Excellence, a project at the Bay St. George campus for the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) in Stephenville, Newfoundland. The project serves students in the Heavy Equipment Industrial Trades programs, such as mobile crane operator, heavy equipment operator, and commercial driver/class 3 driver. It is a two-floor facility that features classrooms, a carpentry shop, workshops for high bay maintenance and heavy equipment, a lunchroom, and administration offices.
Why am I proud of this project? Well, I’m proud that this building reflects the distinct traits of an innovative, modern, industrial learning space. Schools for industrial programs have traditionally felt dark, dank, and cramped. Those buildings, many built a half-century ago, often didn’t have bright classrooms or gathering spaces where students could connect. I imagine that some students found it hard to focus in older industrial learning spaces, especially if those students were surrounded by sounds and smells from the heavy equipment work.
Learning environments are evolving, and as designers, we try to create spaces for different learning styles. Perhaps one student learns