DeLaSalle’s Center for Innovative Learning, full of state-of-the-art technology and educational resources, enables students and teachers to work individually, in small groups, or as an entire class to advance their education. This space in the newly redesigned center of the school represents the innovative learning that occurs at DeLaSalle.

This project – the largest improvement of its kind in modern school history – puts DeLaSalle among the first high schools in Minnesota to add such a facility, just as we were among the first to implement a 1:1 tablet technology program six years ago.

Just as business environments and personal communications have evolved dramatically over the past 15 years, the days of students sitting in one place and listening to a lecture are giving way to interactive learning with students far more engaged in discovery. The design of the new CIL responds to this new pedagogy.  Adaptability and collaboration drive the design, as learning spaces accommodate both group projects and individual inquiry.  Almost all the furniture will be movable so that classes can quickly adjust their settings based on the day’s lesson.

What the Center for Innovative Learning Offers

DSC_2794aThe Thies Technoloogy Lab, paid for in part through a generous $2.5 million legacy gift from David ’55 and Marlys Thies, features a state-of-the-art computer area outfitted with the Adobe Suite. It is a perfect place for students to create, design and manipulate digital material. Here, our Introduction to Visual Arts, Digital Photography, and Graphic Design classes can explore and create.  Additionally, our Principles of Engineering and Python students will have access to ever-expanding digital content. While every student will have a computer and monitor, the wall monitors allow the students to display their work and begin the process of collaborative learning — from peer to peer as well as from teacher to student.  Think of preparation for what occurs in a modern conference room or meeting space. Teachers control each monitor, regulating access to additional or connected  content in a collaborative setting.

The Creative Thinking side of the Thies Technology Lab works in tandem with the other side as well as with the library and media center across the hallway. This space, with its varied and comfortable seating, gives students a place to work solo, in pairs, groups, or as a class. The whiteboards give students an opportunity to brainstorm, visualize and demonstrate ideas, and think creatively about class activities and projects. Some technology is available, but this room was mainly constructed to encourage thinking, conversation and collaboration.

DSC_5859aCentral to our Center for Innovative Learning is our Active Learning Space. This multi-purpose space can be transformed into classroom space for up to 60 students (pefect for collaborative, inter-departmental projects or instruction), a large group gathering space, a commons area for students, and/or space for students and teachers to meet individually or in small groups.   Desks can be easily rearranged for individuals, pairs, or groups as needed.  The wall monitors, controlled by the teacher station, allow the teacher to show images to small or differentiated groups or to the entire class.   Students will be able to project their work from their iPad to a group monitor, allowing for collaborative study and problem solving.

The Co-Curricular Room is a versatile area that can be used as an academic space as well as a space for co-curricular activities such as speech, student council, cheer or theater.  The flexible furniture allows for a change of space and environment at a moment’s notice.

Our new Learning Support Center is a space designed for students who may need support and accommodations in their learning.  A testing room allows for extended time on tests under the supervision of our Learning Specialist and/or Learning Support staff.  Tutoring areas are available as well as resources such as audio books and graphic organizers.

While the Library still contains books and hands-on research materials, it also acts as a digital research center where students can access a number of databases, and work on homework and projects.  A full class can gather to access teacher-designed virtual learning.  The new learning pods with group seating and whiteboard space, offers students an opportunity to collaborate on projects with research material within arms reach.

Soon to come are the video dubbing and editing rooms.  These spaces will allow students to design, create and edit video and audio for any class project

Among the improvements of the new building project are enhanced athletic storage and locker space, as well as new areas for theatre staging and storage. The school converted what had been the girls’ physical education and athletic locker room in the Main Gym into boys’ and girls’ physical education locker rooms, also to be used by visiting teams at DeLaSalle athletic contests. The school then created space within the new building for enhanced boys’ and girls’ athletic locker rooms, replacing what had been 55-year old locker rooms in other parts of the facility.  With well over half of the student body participating in athletics and/or theatre programs each year, students, coaches and moderators should benefit from improved areas and access.

DSC_2782aThis project also has presented an opportunity to improve campus infrastructure and link all three buildings on campus more effectively.   We’ve known for many years that we needed to replace our heating and electrical systems for much of the current campus, and that work has been completed – and was significantly more cost effective than had it been done separately. We replaced an 80-year old boiler/heating system and upgraded electrical service across the campus. With new corridors, a new “north entrance,” and other facility additions, we address safety and student traffic concerns with a more logical flow of parking and hallway traffic.  Students move from class to class more efficiently, and visitors to events on campus have more logical points of entry. Moving storage and locker rooms to a new place on the north end of the campus better connects those spaces to the new athletic field and existing gymnasiums.

CIL Reflects Major Investment of “Gateway to the Future” Campaign

The Center for Innovative Learning represents a major investment of DeLaSalle’s “Gateway to the Future” capital campaign.  Launched in 2014, the campaign calls for the school to raise $17,000,000 over five years, with $8.8 million earmarked for the CIL, the building addition, and the related infrastructure improvements, and $8.2 million to be raised for student scholarship and grants, as well as endowment programs.  The response to the campaign has been terrific!  After just two years, DeLaSalle has already raised $12,300,000 in gifts and pledges — with several significant gifts anticipated in the coming months.  As with all major building projects of the past 25 years — the Florance Center and first floor restoration, the Albers Atrium addition, the LL Gray gymnasium addition and A building HVAC renovation, the new DeLaSalle athletic field, and the renovated science labs among them — the construction of the CIL is funded directly from campaign gifts from benefactors who support DeLaSalle and its families, raised through the hard work of DeLaSalle’s president and development staff, as well as several key volunteers who passionately support the school and invite others to do the same.

At the same time, the school has retained its unwavering commitment to provide unmatched financial aid and grant support for the students and families of DeLaSalle.  The school will invest $3,000,000 in students from ALL backgrounds this year alone, so that a DeLaSalle student body continues to reflect the full breadth and richness of an increasingly-diverse Twin Cities.  Our students and families come from every neighborhood, every family background, and every socio-economic demographic,  Contrary to what some would speculate, the school receives NO subsidy from any outside group (and never has) and operates independently under its own corporate structure.  Revenues are raised entirely from tuition and gifts to the school, and we are careful stewards of what our mission calls us to be.  We are immensely grateful for the sacrifices and investments made by our parents and donors in community with our staff, Board, and students.  To achieve this lofty mission presents a financial challenge each fiscal year, yet the school has balanced its annual operating budget for 19 of the past 20 years. We remain faithful to our historic mission to provide high-quality, Catholic, Lasallian education to ALL students, preparing them for further education, lives of goodness and service to others, and an appreciation for the God-given value of each person, from every background.

We have completed our 117th year on Nicollet Island and our future has never been brighter!  Enrollment is the highest it’s been in more than four decades.  Thanks in large part to the generosity of benefactors and friends we welcome students from over 125 Twin Cities middle schools and all socio-economic backgrounds.  DeLaSalle’s continues to enhance academic and co-curricular programming and environments for students.  The Class of 2016 continues a remarkable track record, as over 98 percent of our graduates will matriculate to college this fall.  All students will gather in prayer at least 1500 times each year and, collectively, will offer over 20,000 hours of Christian Service to their communities this year.  We remain committed to our unique strengths as an urban, Catholic, Lasallian high school – rooted in a legacy of Faith, rigor, community, and relevance that has sustained DeLaSalle for more than a century.  There is no school like DeLaSalle!

Project Timeline

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2013

Strategic Planning Identifies Need for CIL

2014

Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Awards $1 Million Challenge Grant
DeLaSalle Secures $1 Million Grant from David and Barbara Koch Foundation
Board of Trustees Approves Center for Innovative Learning
DeLaSalle Engages Neighbors, Receives NIEBNA Support
Dave '55 and Marlys Thies Pledge $2.5 Million Legacy Gift
School Publicly Launches "Gateway to the Future" Capital Campaign

2015

DeLaSalle Breaks Ground on the CIL

2016

Construction Complete
Center for Innovative Learning Blessing