New Learning Stairs, renovations and upgrades make brighter, safer, flexible learning spaces

We’ve overseen dozens of school improvement projects across the Midwest. With the changing times have come changes in core design features. At schools, our designs are built around learning, student health and safety. It’s been no different at Delaware Community Schools in Muncie, Indiana.

State-of-the-art fitness center 

Schools can support students’ mental and physical health through sports and fitness, which is why athletic facilities are so important in our communities. Scheduled to be complete in May 2021, we recently broke ground on a $6 million, 37,000-square-foot health and fitness center at Delta High School, which will include:

  • Weights and cardio area
  • Walking track
  • Multi-purpose physical education and training spaces
  • Athletic training room
  • Wrestling room
  • 2 locker rooms
Breaking ground on the health and fitness center at Delta High School in Muncie, Indiana
37,000-square-foot health and fitness center at Delta High School to be complete in May 2021 

Other spaces were renovated to house new athletic department offices and a conference room. Later, we’ll renovate the undersized weight room at the gym to become a new girls’ varsity locker room.  

Flexible, bright space

The upper level multi-purpose area has been designed with flexibility in mind, so Delta could add curriculum in the future, like a U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, for example.

The whole fitness center will feel open and bright with natural light coming from the large expanse of windows on both levels and includes a retractable perimeter curtain system and batting cages. 

A bright, upper level multipurpose room opens the door to broader curriculum
A bright, upper level multipurpose room opens the door to broader curriculum 

A comprehensive Project 2020

The fitness center is part of a larger Project 2020 that is already underway and involves an additional 40,000 square feet of renovation to the high school common areas. On pace to be completed this year, the commons overhaul features spacious new Learning Stairs, new food service area, lockers and flooring to make learning spaces brighter, safer and more flexible.


Wide stairs for learning

Designed to provide a collegiate atmosphere of collaboration, the new Learning Stairs will feature several wide areas where students can gather with friends to study and socialize. The beautiful new staircase will be large enough to lecture or present? An entire class and will have integrated  outlets so students can easily recharge their devices.  

Our inspiration comes from Silicon Valley tech companies, like Apple and Google, with their 21st Century, futuristic feel. High school students are our future business leaders and entrepreneurs and will use these same types of spaces later when they join the workforce.

The Learning Stairs at Delta High School in Muncie, IN, can seat an entire class
The Learning Stairs at Delta High School in Muncie, IN, can seat an entire class

Open spaces, safer supervision 

We’ll also install shorter, wider student lockers. The shorter height will create an open feel with less congestion and enable safer supervision throughout the hallways. The wide locker space will provide better storage for the large, heavy books and bags teens carry. 

Coffee shop-feel with a splash of color

Delta High School eagle mascot
School colors add school spirit

We’ve created a coffee bistro atmosphere in the new food services area where kids can hang out and pick up drinks and snacks before and after school. The entire commons will also have new flooring and a fresh blue, gold and white paint scheme to match the school colors.

Added safety and protection outside, too

Project 2020 will later include updates to the roof and front-office entrance at Eaton Elementary School to make it more secure.  Lights will be added to the soccer field and high school parking lot for an added level of safety in the evening hours.         

This isn’t the first time we’ve worked with the school district. Odle McGuire Shook also designed Project 2018, which added new science rooms and safe and secure front offices in the high school. We also designed a new main entry addition at Delta Middle School, remodeled the old administrative offices into much needed resource and special needs classrooms and installed new floor and wall finishes in the south classroom wing at the school. All are examples of how the school district continues to invest in its students by providing safe, suitable and inspirational learning environments.

Experience matters

When you have the good fortune to do many school projects like these, you begin to know the safety measures that are needed. We’ve already explored and know the best places to gain space and create new uses. Because we’ve done our homework and passed the test, so to speak, we can focus our energy on designing beautiful, creative, and highly specialized and functional buildings and spaces with a smart sense of cost and timing right out of the gate.

Email me for more information about this or other K-12 and higher education projects. We also specialize in government, libraries, commercial, historic preservation, landscape architecture, master planning and interior design services.

Matt Mayol President

Matt Mayol is the president and CEO of Odle McGuire Shook, an Indianapolis-based architectural firm.

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