THINCing Beyond The Typical Classroom
LAGRANGE, GA – August 25, 2016 – School’s back in session. And for some Troup County students that means embracing a different approach to learning, in a different type of environment. At THINC College & Career Academy, the hands-on, interactive and collaborative approach to education demands an overall space and furnishings that are able to “go with the flow.” The minute you walk through the door at THINC, you see this isn’t your typical high school.
The THINC facility has the feel of a Google office, with brightly colored carpet tiles, glass walls, stylish furniture and collaborative workspaces. “A lot of college and career academies have a tendency to look just like traditional high schools, and many are even located in other high schools,” said THINC CEO Kathy Carlisle. By contrast, THINC is located on the campus of West Georgia Technical College, where students can earn dual-enrollment credit – and it looks nothing like a traditional school. “Most schools have been pushed into this ‘box’ design that can be reproduced easily,” said Ashley Smith, an architectural intern at Smith Design Group of LaGrange, who helped design THINC’s learning spaces. “We wanted to give the space a fun vibe that would be stimulating for teens – something they would be proud of and that would inspire them to be creative.”
Vibrant colors are everywhere. There are 18 different colors of carpet alone, thanks to $100,000 in carpet tiles donated by Interface.
“Many of the surfaces and materials in the school were donated by companies within the community so we had the opportunity to work with a lot of fun colors and patterns, which enabled us to design a professional yet creative look and feel in each area of the building,” said Smith.
During the planning stages, THINC designers knew they wanted furniture that could be moved around easily and arranged in flexible groupings to support student collaboration. They also needed furnishings that could not only work for the school when it opened last fall, but also continue to grow with the facility for years to come.
Local business Loy’s Office Supplies worked with Bretford Furniture to supply the perfect solution. “A key differentiator was the availability of power supplies in all the Bretford’s furniture,” said Chad Williams, vice president of Loy’s.
Throughout its classrooms and common areas, the school contains community docking stations and tables with video monitors, where students can plug in their mobile devices and share their screens as they collaborate on projects. There are also many soft, comfortable chairs with built-in power outlets where students can work independently or in small groups.
THINC is a “bring your own technology” environment, and the school offers laptops and Chromebooks for students to use if they don’t have their own mobile device. To keep devices charged, the school has 36unit charging carts optimized for Chromebooks, but also able to support most tablets, laptops/hybrids, and ultrabooks. Students can also charge their devices (phone, tablet and laptop) in the school’s charging lockers, where they can secure their device, set their own personalized code and walk away. When they return, their digital devices will be waiting, charged and ready for use.
“This is definitely one of our most exciting partnerships to date as we have the opportunity to show how the furniture can create a lively, agile workspace where students can learn hands-on and really prepare for their future,” explained Chris Petrick, CEO for Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. “Students at THINC aren’t sitting in a room taking notes. Instead they’re using their devices, working in teams, and changing the learning environment based on the need. Our EDU 2.0 line of furniture enables this style of teaching and learning to give students and staff limitless possibilities for success.”
According to THINC Principal Dr. Christopher Williams, “Every one of the courses offered at THINC requires group work. The furniture allows for collaboration, and most of it is mobile and reconfigurable for different uses throughout the school. The furniture helps create an environment focused on shaping the students to be ‘work savvy,’ and this makes these students highly desirable to businesses and universities.”
“Troup County is at the center of a regional economic development boom where hundreds of employers need highly skilled individuals to fill essential positions,” said Chad Williams. “THINC needed furniture that could adapt and change over the next 24 months and the Bretford furniture is designed to do just that.”
As the school continues to expand, they’ve added classrooms, including a new Science Lab, Healthcare Lab, Business class, English class and Math class (with three interactive Promethean boards, unlike any others in the country). With these additions, THINC has brought in more of their existing furniture, as well as new items from chairs, desks and tables to mobile boards and privacy screens. All furnishings and design choices are carefully selected to align with THINC’s vision to drive a new era of innovation, growth and productivity in Troup County and the surrounding region through cutting-edge education.
THINC is such a unique and inspiring space that Bretford recently chose the facility to feature in their upcoming catalogs and collateral. The company spent about a week in LaGrange on photo shoots, with their crew of 15-20 people, as well as more than a dozen local extras, plus assistants and food vendors.
“This is exactly the sort of thing we encourage at THINC – business and school partnerships in action,” says THINC CEO Kathy Carlisle. “We’re more than just a high school. We’re here not only to foster business-minded thinking in our students, but also to connect with companies and create beneficial relationships for everyone.”
About THINC College & Career Academy: Located in LaGrange, Georgia, THINC College & Career Academy is a charter school designed for high school-aged students within Troup County. Combining critical thinking and business, THINC Academy creates an authentic workplace curriculum that extends learning beyond the traditional classroom. THINC students are highly desirable to businesses and colleges not only because they are equipped with technical and careerspecific skills, but because they understand the soft skills of business – a firm handshake, a strong work ethic and critical thinking skills. Led by academic and corporate professionals and funded by local corporations, THINC officially opened its doors for learning in August 2015. For more information, visit www.thincacademy.net.
About Loy’s Office Supplies:
Taking care of West Central Georgia and East Alabama customers for more than 50 years, Loy’s focuses on the simple premise, “Service is our Specialty.” Loy’s mission is to offer the most efficient distribution of office supplies and furniture products while providing the best pricing and superior customer service. Loy’s goes beyond traditional methods of processing, filling, and delivering orders, which promotes efficiency in its customers’ operations and results in accountability, cost-containment, and budget control. Loy’s offers no minimum order requirements, several methods of ordering, and a hassle-free return policy. To learn more, go to loysos.com.
Bretford is a manufacturer of furniture for both learning and work environments. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Franklin Park, IL, Bretford holds close to seven decades of expertise dedicated to the design and manufacture of sustainable furniture solutions that are made in the U.S. Each furniture design is built for quality and mobility so rooms, people and information can move and still stay connected.
The company offers smart furniture designs that support evolving technology, enabling institutions, organizations and corporations to increase productivity and efficiency. Superior workmanship and environmentally- compliant manufacturing and operation practices ensure dependable Bretford products, many of which are GREENGUARD Gold Indoor Air Quality Certified. The company is committed to using less energy, creating less waste, and reducing its carbon footprint. Bretford is a CarbonNeutral certified company and its EDU 2.0 line is among the first in the contract furniture industry to achieve CarbonNeutral product certification.
To learn more, go to bretford. com.