The Kent Laboratory Academy is an innovative school providing the students and families of Kent School District with an option in public education beyond what a typical boundary school can provide. As the population of Kent increased, the district decided to bring two existing academy programs, the Kent Mountain View Academy serving grades K-8 and the Kent Phoenix Academy serving grades 9-12, into one new facility committed to supporting the community and building upon the strengths of the students and their families.
Understanding that this new building would need to be extremely agile in its ability to adapt to ever changing community needs, each wing is developed around a ‘pod’ structure that clusters a series of three classrooms and a flexible lab around a central collaborative space with an adjacent room that can be used for group work, conferencing, or as additional space for staff or community partners.
Offices and conferencing spaces for adults are intentionally spread throughout the facility to aid in supervision, and provide opportunities for community services to interact naturally with students. The main administrative zone is nestled in the center of two classroom wings, with a large media center overlooking the outdoor play areas. The commons, anchoring the northeast corner of the facility, is envisioned to be a flexible space for both the school and the community – a less formal space that students feel they have ownership of.