K-12 Education

Cedar Falls High School

Cedar Falls, IA

After evaluating a potential high school renovation, the Cedar Falls Community School District determined a new 1,400 student replacement high school adjacent to the University of Northern Iowa would best suit the community’s goals of providing 21st-century learning environments for students and staff. The new high school proactively supports the district’s initiatives including professional learning communities and their student-focused Power Hour.

Planning strategies included an Insight Week where INVISION dove into the school’s culture cultivating conversation with students, administration and staff, initiating data gathering tools, and gaining community input. All this feedback served as the basis of our initial planning concepts. The new comprehensive high school includes a competition pool, innovative career labs, multipurpose auditorium, community commons, athletic venues and collaborative small learning communities. Special design considerations include:

  • Development of small learning communities to break down the large scale of the building
  • Decentralized administration to help monitor safety and better engage with the student body
  • Siting strategies to make the most of potential program sharing with UNI CTE/​Power Hour Floor which will showcase projects and student work in action as well as serve as a community resource
Tim Turnis
Project Architect

Our team was challenged to create learning spaces that break the mold of traditional education delivery methods. The district has a progressive approach to educating students with hands-on projects and career-based learning opportunities and needed a campus to support these initiatives. The project and design reflects the communities efforts to hold education at the highest priority. The unique spatial qualities of the building create opportunities for students to learn, communicate and collaborate in ways not possible on their current campus. The view of the building around campus doesn’t look like a typical high school and is a result of countless hours of discussion and collaboration between our design team, district staff, teachers, students, and community members to change the approach to educating future generations.