Windham, CT – A ribbon cutting ceremony was held recently for the new Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy in Windham. The 83,700sf school accommodates 600 students ranging from full-day pre-kindergarten through 8th grade and services the Town of Windham and 22 surrounding towns.
It is the first STEM magnet school in northeast Connecticut. The academy offers a supportive, hands-on learning environment which emphasizes critical thinking and effective collaboration. Equipped with the latest technology in its classrooms and media center, the facility offers laboratories for oceanography, LEGO/Robotics and distance learning capabilities.
The architectural and interior design was completed by ID3A, LLC of Glastonburyt. The construction team also included Consulting Engineering Services, Inc. (MEP), BSC Group, Inc. (LA), BVH Integrated Services (structural), Skanska (CM), Crabtree McGrath Associates, Inc. (food service), GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. (geotechnical) and ARCADIS was the program manager.
The STEM curriculum features four large science / technology rooms. The new project science room cantilevers into the courtyard below where students can view rainwater as it drains down Rain Chains into a bio-swale which runs through the center of the courtyard. The Oceanography Suite is equipped with saltwater and freshwater aquariums and a touch-tank for aquatic and marine sciences and biology studies. A dedicated technology room offers bench space and a 3D printer that can turn a block of plastic into any shape a student has designed.
The schoolyard features a sundial with butterfly, vegetable, flower and sensory gardens. A wind turbine and solar electric panels generate power. Interactive smart boards are fitted in every classroom and link to a dashboard which displays live data from the weather station and wind turbine, and serves as a teaching tool for the students. Rain gardens, biofiltration swales, and other natural drainage, minimize the demand for storm water piping and indigenous plantings eliminate the need for irrigation.