Vancouver iTech Preparatory, a science, technology, engineering and math magnet school, serves students in grades 6–12. The popular STEM school admits students through a lottery based on zip code to ensure an equitable representation of students who live throughout the district.
Since its 2012 opening, iTech has received many state and national awards, and in June 2016 it celebrated its first graduating class. The school is flourishing, but it faces some significant challenges due to its facilities:
- Campus: iTech is housed in two different locations more than 10 miles apart. Students in grades 6–8 attend school at the Jim Parsley Education, Family and Community Center in the Bagley Downs neighborhood, while students in grades 9–12 attend classes in the Clark College building located on the campus of Washington State University Vancouver.
- Capacity: The school currently serves about 350 students in grades 6–12, but nearly 200 students are on a waiting list to get into the middle school.
- Lack of space: The temporary spaces at both locations are not adequate for project-based learning on which the school’s curriculum is based. A lack of classrooms and work spaces prohibit small- or large-group collaboration.
- No storage space at either location
- No display space for student work
- No faculty work areas
On Sept. 30, 2015, nearly 70 staff members, parents, students, architects and community partners gathered to discuss the school’s future. They envisioned building a single facility that would house the entire school on the WSUV campus. Based on that input, planning teams of architects and school staff members developed three design concepts.
(Pictured above: iTech student Miranda Dowler participates in a symposium to reimagine the school.)