Academy of Holy Names

Reimagining academic spaces for the 21st Century was the overarching goal for the Academy of the Holy Names when it began working with educational design firm Fielding Nair International on a multi-year facilities plan.


Academy of the Holy Names

Location Tampa, Florida

Number of People Served 950 students, K-12

izzy+ Independent Sales Representative Pat Fiorentino, of Fiorentino & Company, LLC

Designer Jennifer Leyva, Senior Interior Designer, Fielding Nair International, LLC

The need:

While the facilities plan retained the classic exteriors of the academy’s existing buildings, the interiors were completely renovated to create separate, identifiable spaces for each age group—elementary, middle and high schools—while also supporting flexible, 21st Century teaching and learning styles.

“We really needed these spaces to be easy to reconfigure throughout the day, even by the students,” says Jennifer Leyva, a Senior Interior Designer for Fielding Nair. Leyva specified a range of izzy+ learning space products for the building that was renovated to house the academy’s middle school.

The core concept for the 30,000 square-feet of reimagined academic space was the creation of a reconfigurable Commons area surrounded by flexible Learning Studios. There are no hallways or doors, and teachers don’t “own” any specific areas, Leyva says. Instead, the new spaces are all about flexibility and freedom.

“This approach is a paradigm shift that our company has been integrating into our designs,” explains Leyva. “It’s not just a completely open space—you still have ‘rooms’, they’re just different types of rooms that students and teachers can do different things with, and different types of furniture that can be used in different ways.”

Leyva says she was also looking for durable products that can hold up to middle school students—and she needed to work within a tight budget.

The izzy+ solution:

For the Learning Studios, which are designed to serve students and teachers who are working together as a class, Leyva chose rolling, stackable Hannah chairs and Clara tables, all outfitted with casters. Dottie stools, also easy to pick up and move, were added to offer students the opportunity to keep moving while they work.

“We’ve gotten great feedback about the Dotti stools,” Leyva says. “They allow movement and motion without the bouncing of yoga balls, which can be very distracting.”

Because teachers don’t “own” specific spaces, Leyva says Dewey Lecterns allow each instructor to easily make adjustments according to their height and other preferences.

For the central Commons area, Leyva specified a variety of Sylvi Lounge pieces, which offer students more relaxed places to read independently or work together. Within the Commons, Leyva also created vignettes she calls “Campfire 2.0.” While she had the basic concept in mind, she and independent sales rep Pat Fiorentino worked with izzy+ Design Manager Beth Fulmer to create an izzy+ custom solution.

“Jen wanted to create a grouping of mixed-height seating options with a markerboard partition that could be used for collaborative work in many different configurations,” Fulmer says.

The solution Fulmer created combines Sylvi lounges, freestanding tables and benches; Snap Mobile Markerboards at a 42-inch height; and custom Dewey counter-height tables with Hannah stools.

“It all came together so well,” Fiorentino says about the project, which was installed in August 2017. “Beth was really instrumental in making it all work so beautifully together, with the Snap panel solution. The whole space is really wonderful and conducive for learning. Students are able to move things around and rearrange the space without ruining the overall look, because everything coordinates and works together.”

Leyva is also very pleased with the results, and expects to duplicate some of the design solutions in other areas and projects.

“Teachers have options,” Leyva says. “They can use different spaces throughout the building, as needed. It’s great to walk in and see all of the ways the spaces are being used. You might have a couple of kids sitting on a Sylvi reading, then a group of six kids and a teacher using the presentation area, and other students working at tables in a Learning Lab. There’s so much going on, but everyone is on task.”

And how do the young end-users feel about their new academic space? “The principal said that when the kids walked in and saw it for the first time, they were so excited they screamed,” says Fiorentino.