Classroom Renovations

  • Managing Department: Art Department, College of Environmental Design
  • Rooms/Courses Affected: 13-1237 and 13-2332
  • Completion: 2017
  • Budget: $97,500


The Cal Poly Pomona Art Department is a hub-bub of creative energy and studio engagement. But not all classrooms were very engaging. The faculty team and students envisioned a Work Space that would be an aspirational environment for creativity, conducive to collaborative learning, and reflective of a professional and attainable design environment.

The recent environmental renovations and technological upgrades to the Visual Communication Design (VCD) Work Space engages students in a multitude of activities from small group discussions to large-scale international design critiques via live conferencing technology. No longer do students listen to lectures lined up behind dilapidated tables, mismatched chairs, and jerry-rigged technology. With the support of the Provost, CPP IT, bkm office environments and the Steelcase Active Learning Center furniture installation, the space can now be configured to accommodate classes, lectures or a study area. New blinds allow for natural lighting and glare reduction, paint and floor coverings have been installed, and electrical needs have been addressed.

Technological upgrades include: smart classroom equipment and projector, a digital touch whiteboard, confidence monitor, interactive collaboration technology for both large and small groups and Bluetooth AppleTV presentation technology for collaborations between students locally, nationally and internationally.

Academic Impact:

Starting in 2016 the students got hands on with their ideas. Sophomores through seniors were responsible for a competitive audit of leading university design studios as well as the naming, branding, and experiential design analysis of the prospective space. Their efforts came to fruition during the summer 2017 installation.

In fall 2017, students began to enjoy a truly active learning environment that reflects visual communication design standards and the environment of leading agencies throughout the world. The room is a welcoming area for students, faculty and industry partners. Group, lecture, and discussion modes are utilized during class-time based on the activity and at the discretion of the faculty member and students in the Work Space design studio. The inviting lounge area for small discussions and the multitude of classroom configurations with chevron tables provides students the ability to collaborate on the fly. The variety of configurations for different uses allow students to be actively engaged in a multitude of learning modes that may occur simultaneously and is on the vanguard of how space may be reimagined.

Students are excited to be working in the space. Desks and chairs that we expected to be rearranged once per quarter, are often rearranged multiple times in one class session depending on the learning taking place. Faculty who teach in the room express more engagement and collaboration from the students and an enhanced sense of community.

The project is on-going in an effort to provide students access to an environment that reflects the value we place on the student and expresses the active learning expected to achieve their fullest potential. Forthcoming are a continuation of the branding and graphics to inform faculty how best to use the space, information on design methodologies for students, and the value of the design process for potential partners. Research efforts will be documented through Institutional Research Board (IRB) approved data collection and Steelcase pre- and post-occupancy surveys. Students have access to a space that will promote and sustain High Impact Practices, enhance collaborative efforts, and be a point of pride for the students who will take these skills to the industry and shape the trends to come.