SHP Breaks Ground on North Carolina’s Peck Expeditionary Learning School

Aug. 25, 2022


Greensboro, N.C. — Nationally recognized architecture, design and engineering firm, SHP, is thrilled to announce the groundbreaking of the new Peck Expeditionary Learning School, located in Greensboro, N.C. The firm was tapped for the design by Guilford County Schools–which is among the 50 largest school districts in the country–based on SHP’s national expertise and its track record in the successful delivery of pedagogy-driven, student-centered educational design.

This project is the first-of-its-kind for Guilford County Schools, which will transform the current Clara J. Peck Neighborhood K-5 Elementary into a new K-8 Expeditionary Learning (EL) magnet school. The building is the first in the district to adopt the K-8 model.

Like other progressive educational models, EL is rooted in creativity, innovation, collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving. But it has several key differentiators, including a curriculum that centers around learning expeditions that cover multiple disciplines, can comprise small or large groups, and take full semesters to complete. Most importantly, learning expeditions don’t revolve around classroom-based instruction; rather, they encourage students to venture into their communities to engage in interactive and iterative learning.

The new school was designed to house five learning communities that cluster similar grade levels together, allowing for co-teaching and age-appropriate collaboration. Each learning community will include EL commons and gallery spaces to encourage student project displays, hands-on learning opportunities and community engagement. The design includes flexible classrooms to facilitate multiple methods of instruction, decompression spaces to help students cope with periodic emotional challenges, and a distributed dining system that brings meals to the students where they are in lieu of a traditional cafeteria, among other features. Learn even more about the project here.

SHP has completed several projects specifically designed for progressive pedagogies in recent years, including lower and upper school campuses in at Winton Woods City Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was one of the first in the country to redesign its entire school district to support its commitment to Project-Based Learning (PBL).

“We know that Peck is an integral part of the surrounding community and do not take this responsibility lightly,” said David Powell, SHP architect and senior project manager. “Following the feedback we heard from students, staff and the community, we aimed to create a high quality, student-focused environment capable of fostering an entire generation of lifelong learners.”