Interior Design for Epic Middle School - A Groundbreaking Charter School

Oakland, California

Design Disciplines Needed
Interior Design

Desired Services
Interior Design & Brand Integration

Project Description

In fall 2014 EFCPS will open its first middle school, EPIC, in Oakland's Fruitvale District. Epic has a truly innovative curriculum focused on design and engineering, with extensive personalized blended learning (online and small group learning) opportunities and an overarching structure and narrative of 'The Hero's Journey' to empower students with unity and purpose. A more detailed description can be found at http://www.makeitepic.org/

We are currently building the Epic school facility, having paid great attention to creating a school with inspiring architecture. We want the quality of Epic's facility and environment to reinforce our belief in students' worth and potential and to help students feel motivated. We very much need interior design consultation to ensure that continuity in the "look and feel" of the facility.

Epic is being built is two phases. The first part (Building 1) will be completed by August 1, 2014 and it contains 2 large open 'sandbox' areas, 4 classrooms spaces, including 1 makerspace, and 2 seminar/office rooms. Building 1 is about 13,000 sq. ft, as is Building 2. The buildings are connected to each other and Building 2 is expected to be completed by August 2015.

While open to students from throughout Oakland, Epic will primarily serve students from the Fruitvale, among Oakland's lowest-income neighborhoods, where violence and gang activity is common. Unfortunately, many students coming to Epic associate school with disengagement or failure. We are trying to create a space that doesn't message "school"to our students, a space that's perceived as inspirational rather than institutional.

Given their external environment, as a baseline, Epic requires an interior design that feels safe and nurturing to students, a space completely set apart from the trauma and drama of their surrounding neighborhood. We want to create an environment that inspires kids to learn and explore. Epic's instructional approach includes several unique elements which need to be both reflected in and enabled by Epic's interior design.

4 small learning communities with strong cultures (Houses as in Harry Potter) and identities that provide a safe environment for students to establish mentor relationships and be recognized for academic and character accomplishments.

Game mechanics (points, competition) that tap into students' natural desire for achievement and self expression.

With a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math, the Epic curriculum's design thinking program empowers students to create impactful and innovative solutions for complex challenges.

Personalized Learning means that students will have choices around what is learned, when it is learned, and how it is learned. .

We seek interior design support to enhance and magnify what kids experience. We want an interior design landscape that helps students see themselves as innovators, makers, engineers and designers in an environment that is fun and engaging. Just a few ideas we've had are to have walls where kids can write their ideas, have warm and cozy spaces for individual work, have small spaces for Socratic seminars, etc. There will also be a dedicated workshop/makerspace open to all students and incorporated into their classes.

We're looking for interior design to match Epic's bold ambitions and high level of innovation.

Timeline
Complete interior design needs to be completed by mid-August or as close as possible.