Ignite Professional Studies Center
Peoples Choice Award 2020
Hight Jackson Associates
Michelle McClaflin AIA LEED AP BD+C
Ginger Paquin AIA
Bentonville Schools developed the Ignite Professional Studies program to provide students with real, relevant learning experiences in collaboration with regional businesses, non-profits, and industry professionals in order to address a critical component in education - providing students post-secondary options aligned to their passions and strengths. The career strands offered in the program are Construction Management, Culinary Arts, Digital Design and Photography, Education Innovation, Global Business, Health Sciences, Technology, and Video Production.
Students in Ignite strands build meaningful relationships with mentors in business, industry, and higher education, not only to learn a profession, but also to gain valuable professional skills and entrepreneurial habits of mind necessary for careers in an innovation-based economy.
Students in the eight strands of the program had been meeting in different locations throughout the District, and the goal of this project was to bring them to one central location where each strand could have spaces designed specifically for their needs. In addition, there was a desire to provide amenities for each of these strands to share.
The architect determined what spaces were needed to meet the requirements of the Ignite program, then developed the design for the interior remodel, paying particular attention to details which made the spaces feel more like the office settings where students intern, rather than a traditional school. These details include large existing storefront windows on exterior walls and the addition of new storefront windows on interior walls of classrooms, bringing natural light into the central collaborative space. Custom ceiling clouds assembled from standard lay-in ceiling grids with a mix of ceiling tile and metal mesh infill was a way to create visual depth and height to an existing low structure while maintaining acoustic performance and minding budgetary restraints.
A clean, modern office environment is promoted through use of soft gray vinyl plank flooring, hexagonal textured carpet tile, colorful furniture with built-in power, magnetic writing surfaces throughout, and contemporary lighting.
Shared amenities include a central collaboration space that turns into a large presentation room for more than 200 people, a breakroom with café seating, a board room with seating for 20, a conference room with seating for 6-8, three break-out spaces, and a presentation room for 2-4 people.
Administration areas include the Director’s office, additional office space, and teacher workroom/break room.