Impact on Learning
Conestoga Junior-Senior High School
PROJECT: Conestoga Junior-Senior High School
DISTRICT NAME: Conestoga Public Schools
LOCATION: Murray, Neb.
COMPANY NAME: Mohawk Group
In terms of geography, Conestoga Junior-Senior High School is located out in a cornfield in Murray, Neb., but in terms of educational philosophy, Conestoga is out in front of the curve. “We’re a school that’s creative, that’s out there; we’re an unusual animal,” says Principal David Friedli. With a compressed school week, tech-savvy classes and a mission to “inspire and prepare students for life,” Conestoga sets high expectations for student achievement. Its aging facility needed to contribute to the mission by fostering achievement and school pride with visually high-impact and durable updates that pack an inspiring punch.
The students at Conestoga Junior-Senior High School were asked to give input into the upgrading and redesign of their school. Many of the choices in the new design, including the carpeting, were based on their responses and creativity.
The failing VCT and stained, worn carpet obviously needed replacement, but Friedli credits the students and Superintendent Beth Johnsen with using the opportunity to brainstorm the redesign to infuse the school with creativity. “The kids had wild ideas; they wanted something unique,” notes Friedli, and Dr. Johnsen quickly honed in on carpet tile from the Street Thread Collection by Mohawk Group. Inspired by the work of urban street artists, the boldly dynamic designs in Street Thread promote self-expression and originality. The Duracolor fiber’s permanent, inherent stain protection offers unmatched durability and ease of cleaning. In areas where hard surface flooring is the better solution, Mohawk’s Select Step resilient tile was chosen as a polish-optional floor with a lower life-cycle cost than VCT. “By not having to strip and wax the floors, we’ve eliminated 10 days of maintenance each summer,” says Friedli. The stone-look tile in an 18-inch x 36-inch format accentuates the school’s new fresh, modern feel.
IMPACT ON LEARNING
As Principal Friedli says, “It’s amazing what carpet can do. Everybody really appreciates the renovation — it tells people the school really cares; there’s a sense of pride. When students know that you care, they invest themselves in what’s going on.” The newly vibrant, creative environment reinforces the school’s support for students, and that’s essential in an area where parents have options in picking a school. Just walk in Conestoga and you’ll see, says Friedli, “We’re doing innovative and creative things. Here you’ll be inspired and prepared to take that next step.”
According to the International Association of Color Consultants - North America (IACC-NA), a school’s physical environment has a powerful psychophysiological impact on its students. “Appropriate color design is important in protecting eyesight, in creating surroundings that are conducive to studying, and in promoting physical and mental health.” The IACC also notes that many cases of irritability, premature fatigue, lack of interest and behavioral problems can be attributed directly to incorrect environmental conditions involving poorly planned color and lighting. By including the students in the design process and using appropriate colors, etc., the school decision makers have done their best to provide an environment they should enhance student achievement, teacher effectiveness and staff efficiency.
This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of School Planning & Management.