The American Institute of Architects

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

Education Projects

Donald Betz STEM Research and Learning Center | 
Architect: Rand Elliott Architects
Photography by:  Scott McDonald, Gray City Studios

The Donald Betz STEM Research and Learning Center is a 53,000 SF facility that builds on established and growing programs within UCO’s College of Math & Science. The intent of the Center was to create dedicated space to foster connections between disciplines within the college. Every inch has been designed with collaboration in mind. Architecturally, we needed to capture the history of the campus, yet also make a statement about the future. The “Now and Then” concept creates two dualities - a connection to the historic campus on the west and a vision of today and the future on the east. Inside, bright reflective floors give way to high, open ceilings. An interior atrium slices through the building 36’ high and skylights fill the space with ever-changing reflective energy. In developing our concept, we envisioned science and math as an abstract puzzle, the layering of information, and “clues” hidden in plain sight. A “thread” appears through the building leading visitors by labs and classrooms. Each lab possesses a unique feature – interactive glass walls, encouraging students and faculty to peer inside. Ultimately, the Center was designed to offer the millennial student an experience that stimulates creative thinking and inspires innovation.


McLain High School Arena and Auxiliary Gymnasium Project | 
Architect: Sparks Reed Architecture & Interiors
Photography by:Gary Sparks

Tulsa Public Schools McLain High School was built in the 1950’s and in need a new basketball venue to meet the needs of student athletes in this century.  Mclain is Tulsa Public Schools magnet school for Health, Environmental, Engineering, Aviation.  The design of this building emphasizes the engineering systems and exposes them for all to see, we have highlighted the structural systems to encourage students that engineering is valuable and can be beautify.  The new 54,000 sq/ft arena seating 1,200 fans includes an auxiliary practice court, academic study hall, conference area and hospitality suite for the school.  The facility is also used for state testing of the students and hosts district meetings and tournaments.  The project features facilities for both men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling with locker rooms, training areas, coaches’ offices and meeting spaces.  Team sports is a big part of academic success and student engagement.  The new arena is a source of great pride for McLain students, faculty and the community that supports them.  

Neal Patterson Stadium | Architect: Studio Architecture, P.C. 

Photography by: Simon Hurst Photography


Conceived to pay homage to the great European futbol stadium while still speaking to the campus architecture, this exciting new home for the OSU Women’s Soccer program aspires to be the top collegiate venue in the country. Designed to optimize the fan experience, the stadium’s grandstands seat 1,770 spectators, while the suites and club level seat 200 more. The student section seats an additional 540 and is placed behind the north goal, creating an optimal home-field advantage. New state-of-the-art suites and press box are located high above the west grandstands for uninterrupted views of the playing field. A new club house facility includes a health center with hydrotherapy tubs, team locker room, classroom/team center, coaching offices, and a visiting team locker room. Player-fan interactions are designed into several areas of the facility, including the Field Club which is situated between the players’ locker room and the field. The player benches are tucked into the spectator area and the grandstands extend down to the field, creating a very intimate atmosphere. Contextually, the brick band anchoring the façade composition is reminiscent of the modified Georgian architecture of the OSU campus and its sports legacy, while the prominent glazing and massive steel cantilever facing the field represent the progress and impressiveness of the program.


Griffin Family Performance Center | 

Studio Architecture, P.C. 

Photography by: Simon Hurst Photography


This addition to the Lloyd Noble Arena integrates state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and resources into one cutting-edge facility. Located south of the Lloyd Noble Arena and men’s and women’s basketball practice courts, it is highly visible to athletes and visitors alike, making it a valuable tool for recruiting athletes to OU’s powerhouse basketball programs. The innovative design imitates the roof slope, form, and clerestory of the adjacent Lloyd Noble Center, while its brick and cast stone exterior speak to more recent campus architecture. Inside, it features the latest technology in training. Highlights of the facility include indoor and outdoor turf areas, a nutrition center, specialized and flexible spaces for performance testing and assessment, and a large, open space for strength training equipment. Athletes even have access to specialized medical care with an in-house exam room and advanced diagnostic imaging technology that displays tissues as they change or heal over time. A basement level connects this invaluable asset to the adjacent practice courts, making it easily accessible to the athletes who frequently use it.


Portia Smith Building | Architect: Henry A. Hepburn Associates, Architects - Urban Planners - Interior Designers

Photography by: Henry A. Hepburn Associates


The Portia Smith building once used as an office structure for faculty and stuff was abandoned due to water infiltration, mold and in adequate stair circulation. Consequently, the building was scheduled to be demolished. The University at that time had not received its charter and was still known as a college. As the University prepared itself to obtain its charter, giving it full status of university, it was minded of its obligation to be sustainable and exemplify this to the wider community. Having reconsidered its decision of demolition the University decided to refurbish the building by removing the dormers that lined the roof. The dorma areas on the East and West wing of the building became full floors and the Southern wing partially became a full floor, removing the dormers. This approach was undoubtedly more sustainable environmentally, economically socially for the building now stands as a memorium to Mrs. Portia Smith. The building was originally designed by the Ministry of works and has three sections one East, West and South. We took advantage of the northern face of the building by increasing the openings on all levels. This opened-up the spaces and allowed more natural light in rebuking energy load, as well as, creating that healthy contact to the outdoors.


Ponca City Concert Hall | Architect: Winterrowd Talley Architects

Photography by: Milt Mounts, Essential Images Photography 


The Ponca City Concert Hall is the new home for the award-winning chorale, band, and

orchestral programs of Ponca City’s Public Schools. It is the only true concert hall in the state built to exclusively serve K-12 students. An acoustician provided expertise in shaping the performance space to create unparalleled acoustical quality that showcases the young performers’ talents. Curtains aligning the walls can be adjusted to tune the room to meet the acoustical needs of various sizes and types of performance groups. The room acts as the perfect instrument for all performers. The three story, 48,000 square foot building accommodates 1,200 attendees and provides unobstructed sightlines from each seat to the large performance platform. This facility is truly set apart by its size, sophisticated electro-mechanical devices and technology that is needed to support an excellent performance. The Concert Hall is located within the beautiful War Memorial Park. The building was brought to the edge of the park to act as an extension of the Ponca City High School’s Campus and is placed on axis with the historic Howell building. Because of the important relationship with the campus, the exterior materials were selected to compliment and connect with the existing buildings.

High School Field House Addition | KKT Architects, Inc. 

Photography by: Adam Murphy


Broken Arrow High School leveraged bond dollars for this 23,400 SF expansion of their existing field house lobby and classrooms. The spacious addition ties the field house to the main classroom building, adds ten science classrooms, and provides a clear, logical flow through the multi-use areas. It provides improved access from both the campus and the reconfigured parking.  The enlarged, light-flooded lobby includes new concessions which serves events and provides a satellite lunch facility to alleviate cafeteria overcrowding.  And a new hospitality room overlooks the gymnasium.


Emerson Elementary School | KKT Architects, Inc.

Photography by: Adam Murphy


Oklahoma’s first public Montessori school features flexible classrooms which open to pods, providing opportunities for collaboration and multi-age cross-disciplinary learning. The ten-classroom expansion creates light-filled learning spaces and framed views of downtown Tulsa. Design elements are flexible, cheerful, and fun. Varied reading nooks are provided in the media center, and calm, contemporary classrooms create nurturing environments for students and faculty alike. Throughout the building, technology is seamlessly and unobtrusively incorporated.  KKT doubled the square footage and extensively remodeled interiors of this 1976 building to create new and expanded public spaces such as the kitchen, cafeteria, and auditorium are centrally located for optimal utility.

Learning Resources Center at Rose State College | 

Architect: ADG, P.C. 

Photography by: Emma Grace Anderson


The project goal was to create an open and modern college library—a place to study and a central spot to get tutoring help. The original 1960s-era building could not easily be renovated to include all the areas in the desired program. The modest design budget was stretched to include a building that breaks up the eastern end of a very rectilinear central court with a curvaceous glass-walled addition. The 15,234-square-foot addition gives the library breathing room and offers much greater efficiency, especially combined with the newly renovated 42,586-square-foot original structure. The “new” Learning Resources Center at Rose State College is now much better equipped to handle students and their research and study needs. The new Learning Resources Center (LRC) features two stories of study rooms, a large tutoring center, a computer research area and a new cafe. To accommodate the growing size of the school, the amount of tutoring space available has more than tripled since the renovation. Students now have plenty of working space for research and tutoring assistance in a comfortable and contemporary atmosphere.


Holland Hall Tandy Health & Wellness Center | 

Architect: GH2 Architects, LLC

Photography by: Susan Rainey, Yellow Dog Design Works 


The Tandy is a dynamic 50,000 square-foot Health and Wellness Center that connects the Holland Hall campus and its student’s together through both physical and emotional means. Created in a former parking lot between the upper school—designed by O’Neil Ford—and middle school building, the Tandy is now the heart of the campus, providing a clear destination for visitors.Primary functions included within The Tandy are a 300-seat multi-use refectory with indoor and outdoor seating, wellness center, meeting rooms, spirit store, hall of fame exhibits, alumni lounge, conference rooms and athletic support spaces. The Tandy also supports the stadium at the East with locker rooms, sports treatment, coaches’ offices, and a concession area. The refectory provides a collegiate style dining environment where middle and upper school students dine together. The lively green space provides one more space for students to connect through pep rallies, impromptu gatherings and dining. The building connects to the outdoors with large windows to the South and West. Passive solar strategies were utilized throughout, with primary glazing at the refectory facing south with a generous overhang to take in winter sun but to minimize summer sun. Materials throughout the facility were chosen to be upscale, yet durable for everyday student use.


Heartland Middle School | Architect: FSB Architects & Engineers

Photography by: Keith Rinearson, PhotoArt


Located in the growing school district of Edmond Public Schools, Heartland Middle School was designed to be the next generation learning environment and serve as a model for future middle schools. The design creates an empowering environment that allows students to learn the essential academic, teamwork and collaboration skills they will need to succeed in school, their careers and in life. At the crossroads of the school’s pedestrian flow is the Learning Forum. This central hub connects a two-story atrium with tiered, stadium-style seating and provides an open learning venue with a multimedia presentation wall. When not active as an educational space, the Forum is a center for social interaction. Every learning space is designed to be a smart classroom. Most classrooms contain rotating partitions with white boards or pegboards which can be turned to face the main commons area, providing additional interactive learning opportunities. The school’s creative departments are supported by a central drama room which connects to both an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor stage. This area also features a space with 3D printers that are adjacent to computer programming and interactive technology labs. Partially open ceilings with labelled pipes allow students to learn about the building’s systems.


OSU CEAT Endeavor Lab | Architect: FSB Architects & Engineers

Photography by: Simon Hurst


The success of students at Oklahoma State University’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) is built on the platform of transforming math and science into ideas, devices and processes that improve the world and advance business opportunities. This lab’s real-world testing capabilities for bridges, buildings and more gives Oklahoma State’s engineering students a competitive professional edge. Achieving this lofty goal necessitates the latest hands-on interactive testing environment. That’s why OSU officials selected FSB to spearhead a massive new undergraduate laboratory – an interactive, flexible, highly specialized facility which will modernize OSU’s entire CEAT program and give the university a competitive edge among peer institutions. A total of 17 undergraduate research laboratories spread strategically throughout the four-story structure are focused on creating multidisciplinary, collaboration-based learning environments that prepare students for the real-world work force. The multidisciplinary labs are focused on sustainable buildings, fluid and air dynamics, thermal characteristics, material characteristics, sensors and instrumentation and creating-making space. Open glass doors on each lab allow students and other visitors to observe ongoing experiments.


Zarrow Family Faculty and Graduate Center | Architect: REES

Photography by: Joseph Mills Photography


A modern library is defined not only by the informational resources it provides, but also by technological and spatial resources. Lower Level 2 of the University of Oklahoma’s Bizzell Memorial Library needed updated technologies and collaborative spaces for learning. Broken up by walls and doors, the layout was dated and uninviting, with minimal space receiving natural light from windows and little access to technology. The designated staff-only space was rarely used, as most of the staff opted to work in more updated areas of the library. The University recognized this under-utilized space as an opportunity to create a much-needed environment for faculty and graduate students, thereby encouraging interaction among their top scholars. The space needed to draw them in with comfort and style, as well as provide the correct environments and technology for modern modes of work. We called on our workplace experience to design a space that is functional and adaptable to future needs. The floor plan has several zones of activity, purposefully designed for different modes of work. Though zoned, the space is far from cut off. Glass partitions separate the spaces and a window wall looking out onto the Canyon Garden provides an abundance of natural light.


Ida Freeman Elementary Media Center / Storm Shelter | 

Architect: MA+ Architecture

Photography by: Mel Willis Photography


The new Media Center and Storm Shelter Addition at Ida Freeman Elementary promotes a long-lasting culture of reading. Core to the design of the new media center, this theme also compliments the school’s desire to pay tribute to Ida Freeman and the years she spent reading with children as an educator with Edmond area schools. The interior is colorful and flexible, encouraging students to discover literature in an engaging way. Oklahoma’s severe weather can strike at any time, often requiring students to seek shelter. Addressing this need, the new Media Center doubles as a 665 person capacity storm shelter and offers students a safe place during extreme weather events. During mild weather conditions, South facing FEMA-compliant metal coiling doors remain up and out of sight, allowing natural light to fill the space during the day. The lively interior was designed to engage children’s imaginations, while simultaneously creating teaching moments. Keeping true to the school’s mission, the design of the new Media Center aims to prepare students for life-long learning inside and outside of the classroom.


Norman North High School Addition and Renovation

Architect: MA+ Architecture

Photography by: Simon Hurst Photography


The Norman High School addition/renovation was part of a bond issue that created 28 district-wide school improvement projects. The design goals for each project were to “upgrade learning environments, enhance safety and provide additional instructional opportunities for students”. Being the City of Norman’s original high school, NHS’ building and culture are important to the community. The design team met with administrators and developed a program to meet the school’s specific needs while addressing the challenges of the current facility. This collaboration created unique opportunities for tradition to influence design. Tradition is reflected in the design of the breakout and collaboration areas defining shared spaces throughout the school. The exterior remodel respects the love and familiarity for the school building shared by the community. This design met all criteria set forth in the bond issue while addressing existing repair issues, improving circulation, and creating building-wide design cohesiveness. The addition connects three campus buildings and defines outdoor recreation and learning environments.


Audio & Video Recording Studio at Booker T. Washington High School | Architect: Daniel Butko collaborating with RBDG

Photography by: James Wilson, Russ Berger, Daniel Butko


The 1,160 sf Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts recording studio is the result of collaboration toward comfort and acoustical accuracy in music education and production. The BTWHS Advisory Board began feasibility studies with the architect and Dallas Independent School District almost a decade ago. As stakeholders in the design process, the Advisory Board commissioned the project in 2014 followed by fund raising campaigns and an educational grant for equipment.The project includes a dedicated audio & video recording studio, a connected classroom, and infrastructure for remotely capturing performances elsewhere in the building. The spaces were designed for classes of approximately 15 students to record and live stream in-house productions, create audition files for scholarships and competitions, teach recording processes, and develop podcasts. Crafted into an existing space, the design was executed through numerous precise details and meticulous attention to construction details, efficient MEP systems, and acoustical isolation.Located in the Dallas Arts District, the magnet school serves 700 students in 9th through 12th grades. Their influence and instruction is quite extensive in various expressions of art throughout the world, including recognizable talent as Erykah Badu, Nora Jones, Roy Hargrove, and Edie Brickell.


Putnam City High School Gymnasium Renovation and Safe Room  | Architect: Sparks Reed Architecture & Interiors
Photography by: Gary Sparks

Putnam City HS original gym was built in 1957 with a classic barrel vault roof and bowstring truss system.  The old gym had a lay-in acoustical tile ceiling hiding the roof structure and only had seating along one side line with no accessible seating.  The renovation rotated the court 90 degrees and removed the lay-in ceiling to expose the barrel vault roof system and bowstring trusses.  This opened the feel and volume of the gym and gave it a “Hoosier’s like” feel.  The seating was redesigned to allow seating on both side lines and elevated from the court with access from the second-floor concourse.  The safe room was incorporated into the design as a new structure adjacent to the old gym.  The addition is a reinforced concrete structure incorporating the visitor’s locker rooms, varsity girl’s locker and sports medicine. The addition also provided for a new two-story lobby serving as the “front door” for the varsity gym and the performing arts auditorium.   The project provided new ticketing, spirit store, concessions, varsity locker rooms, visitor’s locker rooms, coaches offices, sports medicine and hospitality suite along with a new seating bowl.