Dayton Christian School (DCS) was once the most influential Christian school system in the United States. But in the early 2000s, the school’s position weakened when a geographic move hurt its enrollment and chipped away at its brand identity. New leadership in 2017 brought stability to the school’s decline and the opening of the school’s first gym (the Warrior Center) gave an opportunity to create not just a building but a branded environment. The Warrior Center build (20,000 sq/ft) uses a level of environmental design not common in K-12, setting DCS apart from competition and communicating excellence.
The Warrior Center and its expansive lobby create a cohesive athletic vision for the school. Warrior pride is on display at each point in the facility as the school’s historical colors of purple and gold were translated to maple wood tones and bold purple accents. Armory images in the lobby are strengthened by the marbled flooring welcoming visitors to a space that feels more collegiate than that of a high school gym.
Elements introduced in the Warrior Center set the stage for five other investments including a redesigned PreK-K Wing (10,000 sq/ft), Student Life Center (7,300 sq/ft), High School Wing (8,000 sq/ft), Main Lobby (7,350 sq/ft), and exterior wayfinding – transforming a cold 1970s, former NCR training facility into a warm, DCS branded campus. This was accomplished through the careful selection of light, natural wood tones, moss wall installations, clean bright colors and flooring, updated lighting, bold wall wraps, dimensional lettering and signature slat wall features. The school’s mission, purpose and values are cleverly placed throughout the spaces creating a journey of discovery and inspiration for DCS Warriors of all ages.
Each space in the interior cultivates a different facet of emotion – whether it’s fierce competition in the athletic spaces; cozy, sunshine filled days in the PreK and Kindergarten wing; health and well-being in the Student Life Center, welcome and sophistication in the main lobby and elite, academy-level pride in the High School wing.
These environmental designs played a significant role in DCS’s rebirth. Spaces designed with excellence have rebuilt confidence and inspired pride with families and donors. DCS has seen a 60% enrollment increase and watched its net promoter score increase by 50%. Best of all, these spaces have instilled a sense of school pride that had been lost for nearly a decade.
Experiential Graphics- Large scale (environments or systems)