This past May, Opsis Architecture, a design firm out of Portland, met with a group of students and teachers at Dayton High School. The purpose of this meeting was to begin to envision the future phases of the i3 Center.  

Back in the fall of 2015, Dayton High School started to reimagine their teaching methods. They wanted to develop more effective methods of training their students to be full participants in the new economy. Working with Innovate Oregon, they looked at some of the tech industry best practices such as design thinking and Agile development to explore how they might incorporate these new frameworks into the classroom. As a part of this process, they created a new Innovation class. This class was designed to provide students with both innovation mindsets and skillsets.

What they quickly noticed in the Innovation class was that students were not only learning, but they were also excited to learn. They continued to seek opportunities to learn and develop new projects. Quickly the school realized that they needed to update their facilities in order to meet the demands of these passionate young makers. After brainstorming, they developed the idea for the i3 Center. Renovating the agricultural shop, Dayton High School transformed the space into a large multidimensional makerspace with three core labs: The Ideation Lab, where teams can work together to develop and realize ideas; the Fusion Lab, a space primarily focused on welding and other metal craft; and the Fab Lab, for wood and metal fabrication.

This reimagined space has already proved to be massively successful in helping develop the students learning, so much so that Dayton High School just received

the TechXcellence award from District Administration Magazine. They have also partnered with Stanford and Lemelson-MIT to continue developing their educational programs. In the last two years, Dayton High School has made a name for itself on a national level for it’s education development.

The reimagining of the existing agricultural shop was just phase one. Phase Two will be the construction of two new facilities; a new auto shop and a greenhouse. Phase Three will the construction of additional creative spaces. This new building will house the arts, media and culinary labs as well a retail shop and a cafe. Not only will this space give students the space to be artistically creative but it will also give them the real world practical skills of selling their work.

Phase Three is where Opsis Architecture comes in. Opsis is an internationally renown firm for developing educational spaces and they have agreed to help with the conceptual designs for this new building. And this commitment brings us back to the meeting in May.

A small group brainstorming the layout for the i3 Center’s coffeeshop

Initially, a small group went to Hood River and toured a facility to experience one of the buildings Opsis designed for the Hood River School District. This tour then lead to the idea of creating a design challenge for envisioning the expansion of the i3 Center. The group met to develop ideas for a creative space for the students to get the most out of their education.

During the design challenge, The team broke up into smaller groups, each developing initial concepts for the arts center. They then came back together and pitched their ideas to the larger group. Using these ideas, Opsis had a clearer idea for how to develop the concept framework for the new building. This concept will include the layout of the building designed to make learning meaningful to students, styles of areas where students would work best, and how to power the building with maximum energy efficiency. This meeting laid the groundwork for creating a facility that will help unleash the creative potential of the people who will utilize it