Modern student commons provide welcoming, social, and active learning environments for students. Hord Coplan Macht recently collaborated with Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware and Dawson School in Lafayette, Colorado on several “hubs” to support all three divisions- the lower school, middle school, and upper school.

This panel discussion reviewed strategies used to deliver these new spaces that not only support student academic, social development, and wellness initiatives that have led to increased student enrollment, retention, and auxiliary revenue generation.

The session provided school leaders with the fundamental principles of contemporary student commons. We examined strategies to develop relevant social / academic environments that enhance existing programs, and allow the entire campus community to achieve optimal wellness in order to reduce stress and the risk of illness and also ensure positive interactions.

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Meet the Experts

Adele Willson is the Market Sector Leader for the firm’s PK-12 practice. During her 35+ years of experience, Adele Willson has worked with nearly 300 different schools in all aspects of the architectural practice, most notably educational planning and programming. She is passionate about making the connection between education and design by creating spaces for students to learn and thrive. She understands the complexities of Next Generation educational design, and has dedicated her career to designing high performing, beautiful schools that meet the needs of both current and future learners.



Casey Smith is a Principal in Hord Coplan Macht’s Education Studio, with twenty years of experience in the field. His work includes a number of complex Higher Education and K-12 projects; including renovations, additions and new construction. Casey is intimately involved with helping his clients develop consensus by supporting their decision making with insight and experience.


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