Richmond school opens new building designed for the future - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Richmond school opens new building designed for the future

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Sharp Academic Commons officially opened Tuesday morning on Collegiate's upper school campus.

Senior Alex Jacobs has already picked out his favorite part of it.

"The sandbox room. It gives us the ability to Skype or chat with anybody from any spot around the world," said Jacobs.

The "Sandbox Room" is only part of what makes the 27,000 square foot building unique.

The ceiling, floors, open classrooms, and even the café help to create what school leaders call forward-thinking education space.

"The kids in K-12 settings, and particularly in the high schools, need to have the kind of spaces that are going to allow them to work together in more collaborative settings. And certainly there's a place for classroom settings with teachers up in front of the room and that kind of thing, but more and more kids are going to have the teacher more on the side of the desk," said Head of School Keith Evans.

For that to happen, lots of thought went into the building's architectural design.

"We've opened up the space, and added a lot of light, LED components in the building, natural light, occupancy sensors. Some of the other green features allow us to just have space for our students to grow," said Director of Facilities Scott Carson.

Modern technology is also a huge component - including the MakerBot, which can take a computer image and print it out in 3D.

"We have a large format printer, kind of what photographers would be using as well, and we also have a laser cutter, so that you can take an image from a computer and it uses lasers to cut it out of wood or stone," said Director of Technology Jamie Britto.

School leaders say they want the students to experience a global classroom to prepare them for a global boardroom.

Alex is just happy he gets to see all of this before he graduates.

'We've been about this building, seeing pictures of it since eighth grade. Everything is even more amazing than I could have imagined," said Jacobs.

Sharp Academic Commons will also be available to community groups for workshops, conferences, and other events.

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