KSQ Design Team members Adriana Vadasz, Design Captain Kaitlin Jones, Jon Pontious and Nancy Pounds with Alyse Hamilton’s kindergarten class and its “tree of knowledge.”
Some look at a bare classroom and see sterile walls. Others see a blank canvas.
A group of local designers and architects recently took the kindergarten classroom of Alyse Hamilton, a first-year teacher at Kendall Whittier Elementary, from empty to engaging.
KSQ Architects spearheaded the “Extreme Makeover”-style project for its second year with manpower and donations from
Wallace Engineering and Flintco. Other Tulsa businesses also donated supplies.
The experience of a KSQ employee’s daughter inspired the first classroom makeover — now dubbed “Project Classroom” — at Monroe Demonstration Academy, says firm Associate Monica Roberts, who led the 2013 and 2014 projects.
In the budget-crunched public school system, many first-year teachers must use their own limited funds to decorate their classrooms. In this case, school started with nothing on the walls of the child’s Monroe classroom.
That first Project Classroom was a three-day whirlwind, but this year the planning began months in advance, Roberts says. The final product unveiled Aug. 25 included a market center, a terrarium and a “tree of knowledge” in Hamilton’s requested woodland theme.
“We design a lot of schools, so this is a great mix of our creative talent, the type of project we have expertise in and giving back to the community,” Roberts says.
Of course, the students’ reactions were one of the best parts of the transformation.
“One of the kids asked, ‘Do we get to keep it?’” Roberts recalls. “That was really sweet.”