VLK Architects' Region 10 ESC's Conference Center Earns "Star of Distinction" for School Transformation

Fort Worth, Texas – Each year, the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) showcase new and renovated Texas schools by celebrating excellence in planning and design of the learning environment through the Exhibit of School Architecture. Projects are reviewed by a 12-member jury who may award “Stars of Distinction” in the categories of Community, Design, Planning, Sustainability, Value, and School Transformation. This year, VLK Architects was honored to receive the School Transformation “Star of Distinction” for the Region 10 Education Service Center’s Conference Center.

“The renovation of Region 10 ESC’s Conference Center into this modern, state-of-the-art educational facility is transformational,” said Dr. Gordon Taylor, Region 10 ESC Executive Director. “The facility is now a resource that allows us to continually evolve to new strategies for teaching and learning. The fusion of the spaces with the technology and furniture allows for seamless interaction with the human elements of scholarship to create the best adult learning site in the state.”

According to the Exhibit of School Architecture, the School Transformation “Star of Distinction,” chosen once again as the Special Area of Distinction, redefines the learning place in its nature, shape, character, and/or form in new or renovated facilities. For the Region 10 Education Service Center’s Conference center, the grand lobby joins two previously separated buildings, demystifying a confusing layout and entry point. The introduction of natural light and glass transformed the previously dim space into one that feels light and airy. Each conference room is fortified with advanced technology, including 9-panel video walls, interactive monitors for group work, and integrated control systems, providing its users the tools needed to fully engage the room and facilitate interactive presentations.

Utilizing the VLK | LAUNCH® process, educators, staff, and administrators developed the design of the facility and influenced the look and feel of the space. VLK | LAUNCH® promoted innovative ideas and solutions, revealing that the existing buildings’ multiple entry points were confusing and difficult to secure. A prominent, centralized lobby that connects the north and south main entries was conceived to improve the arrival experience and connect both buildings.

The existing facility was completely redesigned to enhance guests’ experiences and provide maximum flexibility for a wide variety of uses. This building showcases innovative, up-to-the-moment training and conference spaces. A prominent curved roof covers the new grand lobby that joins two previously separated buildings and connects two main entrances. Stone, exposed steel, wood, and glass, along with the sweeping curves of the ceiling design create an airy, sophisticated atmosphere.

Reuse and renovation of the existing building contributed to overall savings while providing a technology-rich environment for professional learning and innovative services to be delivered to more than 130 ISDs across 10 counties, serving over 865,000 students and 106,000 school staff. The building transforms and adapts with acoustic glass operable partitions and automatic, vertically retractable walls, accommodating up to six conference rooms for administrative and academic training sessions.

“It’s necessary to understand and recognize the importance of designing space that is flexible, collaborative and intentional for those who teach our children,” said Ross Rivers, VLK Architects Principal. “The Region 10 ESC Conference Center was a unique opportunity to provide a professional learning environment for educators. This project illustrates the strong commitment made by ESC 10 to these educators and we are proud to have partnered with them in the realization of their vision.”