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The Foundry

As our student community grows in size and our world continues to change, we look to embrace new environments that inspire education.

The Foundry will become the academic heart of the Jr./Sr. High School, an open and welcoming research, technology, and intervention center for 21st century learning. It will be a research, technology, and intervention center serving students in grades 7-12 by transforming the current open courtyard and adjacent interior classrooms. The result: 6,800 feet of unified educational space open to students 13 hours a day during the school year. It will be the center for collaborative work and serve as a learning laboratory where innovation, experimentation, and learning strategies are developed and action research is employed. 

No More Libraries, What?

In response to dramatic changes in digital information and the new skills associated with the access and synthesis of diverse resources, many academic libraries have transitioned to a new service model called the “learning commons.” A learning commons is a technology-rich environment where students can access material in diverse formats and engage in individual and collaborative work to synthesize and share their learning.

This model has migrated from colleges and universities and is now growing in popularity at the secondary-school level. In high schools, these places offer traditional library services and instruction, but also promotes enhanced educational support through accessing digital resources and diverse technologies. Additionally, it serves as a place for community gathering, professional development, and media production.

Ottawa Hills moving into 21st century learning

Critical Thinking

This 21st century pillar focuses on inquiry skills that begin with establishing background knowledge and expands to questioning, finding, and evaluating information; reading/viewing/listening to gain understanding; drawing conclusions; and sharing and assessing the inquiry process. The Foundry coaches will help students develop personal qualities that include positive attitudes toward learning, responsibility, ethical behavior, creativity, and self-assessment. Students will become not only information-literate, but have the potential to develop skills to be lifelong learners who are ready for advanced education and problem-solving in the real world.


By serving as the center for schoolwide efforts to improve teaching and learning, The Foundry will be the center for collaborative work and serve as a learning laboratory. This is where innovation, experimentation, and learning strategies are developed, and action research is employed to evaluate progress and effectiveness. This focused, goal-oriented collaboration results in schoolwide improvement.

Technology/Media Literacy

The Foundry coaches will help students access technology tools and platforms; more importantly, they will provide an environment that supports students in developing the digital skills to participate effectively in the digital world. The construction of personal-information environments where they can organize and store information and resources, as well learn about ethical social networking skills, are part of this important 21st century pillar.


Change is part of the natural flow of life and humans have a unique ability to thrive in conditions of change. Now more than ever, change requires new behaviors, and ways of perceiving and thinking, as well as novel approaches, innovation, and creativity. We perceive the world actively through our senses, creating meaning and adapting to its demand in novel and inventive ways. This inventiveness can be seen in the creation of new technologies, in the forging of new social and communicative constructs, and in the building of aesthetic forms that bring us together in communities. In individual and collective experiences, creativity is the center that holds everything else together. And in learning, creativity is a thread that connects with, interacts with, and supports all other elements of learning.

Vision and Overview

PURPOSE: Create a destination where students in grades 7-12 can study quietly, collaborate with each other, meet with tutors, and participate in intervention programming, research, and innovation. The space will become the hub for 21st century learning at the building.

LOCATION: The space encloses the Junior/Senior High School courtyard and combines it with three adjacent classrooms (rooms 112, 120 and 128).

FEATURES: Supported by Personalized Learning Approaches and Structured Learning Assistance, The Foundry resources will include active and passing learning environments, a library, tutoring spaces, and huddle and testing rooms. As part of the project, IT break-fix operations will move into the space for easier access by students and a small kitchen-like area will be added.

HOURS OF OPERATION: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. during school days

ESTIMATED SIZE: 6,800 square feet

HOW IS IT FUNDED?: The project is being financed through a new capital campaign and borrowing; the borrowed money would be repaid from the 2.6-mill bond issue passed by Village voters on Nov. 3, 2020. 

WHEN WILL IT OPEN: The finished space could be dedicated as soon as the fall of 2022.