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Richland Community College Carroll Center for Innovative Learning

Creating an active learning environment

  • Location

    Decatur, Illinois

  • SQ FT



    3 weeks

  • DIRTT Construction Partner


  • Architect

    BLDD Architects

  • General Contractor

    O’Shea Builders

Image Credit: Tracy Withrow

Richland Community College was ready for an update. With faculty and students working out of a vintage 1980s building, it’s easy to understand why. They were ready to embrace active learning and create a space that shifted the focus from teachers to students.

The key to boosting engagement came with embedded technology. With several monitors built into classroom walls, teachers could work with small groups on their own terms. Even with 30 students in a class, the instruction was still personalized. The tech spilled out into huddle spaces to keep engagement going outside of class.

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The team at Richland was planning on conventional construction. But after they took a tour of a nearby college that was covered in DIRTT, it planted the seed of change. They ran the numbers, and the price of the DIRTT solution was comparable. Now they really had a chance to make the most of the space.

But they had to move quickly. Construction had to begin right after the last day of classes in May. And the building had to be open for learning when students came back at the beginning of January. The clock was ticking, but DIRTT was up for the challenge. Even when a delay during demolition put the project a few weeks behind, a speedy install with quick-connect power kept the schedule on track.

When students returned, glass walls and natural light had replaced the dark cinderblock hallways. Faculty offices flowed with breakout spaces and thoughtful common areas. Teachers loved the new-and-improved building as much as the students did. Now, there’s a waiting list for instructors who want to use these rooms.

Learn more about the project here.

It’s so gratifying to see the white boards filled with formulas and nursing strategies and flow charts. They use it all the time.

Teena Zindel-McWilliams

Director, Institutional & Academic Planning, Richland Community College



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