Earl Center for Learning and Innovation Project
Wheelock is constructing a three-story addition to its Activities Center East building, a project that will help further the College's mission to support children and families. The centerpiece of the addition is the state-of-the-art Earl Center for Learning and Innovation designed to serve as a resource for students, faculty, and members of the Greater Boston community who work with children and families.
The addition project also includes faculty offices on the second floor and a new Alumni Center on the third floor. A grand opening celebration is scheduled for May 15, 2013.
Earl Center for Learning and Innovation
The new first-floor Earl Center for Learning and Innovation will be an airy learning space that will replace the cramped Resource Center currently located in the basement of Wheelock's Classroom Building. The new Center will include all the services, collections, and functionality of the old facility, but will be enhanced with new technologies for learning—such as iPads and survey clicker sets that students can take with them to their field experience sites. The new Center will also feature a flexible layout and furnishings that can be adapted to users' needs. For example, there will be movable tables as well as mobile whiteboards that can be rolled out into the workspace for brainstorming sessions or slid back into storage when not in use.
The Center is laid out as one large, open space, but the design allows one section to be closed off as a private classroom or workshop space. Wheelock's goal is to use this space to host not only educational events for students and faculty, but also professional development opportunities for both Wheelock alumni and teachers from Boston Public Schools. The current Resource Center has long been a cherished workspace for Wheelock students and the new design will preserve its welcoming atmosphere. However, the prominent new location and upgraded technology will raise the facility's profile and help the College make the Center's vast lending resources more readily available to the greater Boston community.
New Faculty Offices and Alumni Facilities
Over the past five years, enrollment at Wheelock has grown. Along with enrollment growth have come new academic programs and additional faculty to serve the students. As a result, there is an unmet demand for classrooms, faculty and staff offices, and meeting spaces due to both growth and the loss of some of these types of spaces to housing renovation.
The addition project will help alleviate some of these needs by including new faculty offices on the second floor and a new Alumni Center with a patio and roof top garden on the third floor.
The Earl Center for Learning and Innovation project was designed by William Rawn Associates, the architects who also designed Wheelock's widely acclaimed Campus Center and Student Residence. The 9,260-square-foot project will significantly upgrade the Activities Center East Building, which adjoins the Wheelock Family Theatre. The upgrade includes the 6,545-square-foot addition built on top of the building's existing raised patio and underground parking garage, plus renovation of a portion of the main building.
The glass-and-steel addition will transform both the Activities East building and the area around it. Its bright, modern, highly transparent facade on Pilgrim Road will bring light and activity to what is now an indistinct area. In addition, the project is designed to be energy-efficient in accordance with Wheelock's sustainability goals.
Wheelock's Community Commitment
Throughout its history, Wheelock has been dedicated to making the community and region a better place to live and work. As one of Boston's leading institutions preparing students for careers in education, social work, juvenile justice, and the field of child life, Wheelock is committed to honoring Boston's history as an educational hub.
Wheelock supports many local initiatives and partnerships with an array of civic, community, and cultural organizations. Wheelock faculty, staff, and students are active volunteers, contributing their time to a wide range of activities, such as education and literacy programs, youth sports, neighborhood development initiatives, and the arts.
Every Wheelock student, graduate and undergraduate, must complete community-based field work to graduate. In all, Wheelock students contribute an estimated 100,000 hours of civic service work every academic year. More than 60 percent of Wheelock students put in between 75 and 300 hours of service learning work each year. Of the 270 organizations where Wheelock places its students, half are in the city of Boston.