"Hack" Your School: An Innovators Guide to Future-Focused Facilities!


North Tower - 1st Floor Garden 3

  • Primary Core Competencies: Educational Visioning
  • AIA CEU: 1. 0 LU
  • Secondary Core Competencies: Design of Educational Facilities


As an innovator, it’s clear to you how important forward-thinking schools are to support education in the future. But how do you get reluctant teachers and administration on board when their vision is firmly rooted in the past? Seeing is believing, and “hacking your school” can get everyone excited about new approaches by bringing them to life in your building before the design is ever finalized. This expanded co-creation design process (coined THINK BIG) used by Mahomet-Seymour SD and their architectural design team resulted in student outcomes that surpassed their wildest expectations, transforming spaces from irrelevant to indispensable. The key to the success of THINK BIG is full scale prototypes, created by "hacking" the existing space (tearing out a few walls and mocking up new ones, while staging the space with furnishings and technology) to cost effectively identify design preferences. Teachers and students test prototypes by holding class in the hacked space, to discover what works and what doesn’t to discover an innovative design solution that will be put to use, by even the most reluctant team members!

Learning Objectives

OBJ #1  uncover big ideas and new approaches

OBJ #2  quickly explore user-designed solutions

OBJ #3  test options with full-scale prototypes

OBJ #4  empower teachers to be champions of change

Damien Schlitt, AIA, LEED AP, BLDD Architects

Shannon Creek, Principal, Mahomet-Seymour (IL) High School