Revitalizing a building and experiential learning
Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (JAUM) had spent 18 years in their Maplewood headquarters. Removed from the urban core, the organization sought a new location that would connect them to the community in a more meaningful, visible and relevant way. In 2014, they started the search for a new site, and what they envisioned would be a long-term location for their program.
Finding the perfect property was the first challenge. Together a solution was found in an unsuspecting 1916 brownstone in St. Paul, located directly off transit circulation. The building had stood through multiple rounds renovations over the years, but offered promisingly large, open floorplates with plentiful daylight. The first floor includes office, training and board room space for their administration team, a 150-seat auditorium and a formal presentation stage with full AV capabilities. Furniture throughout the building is meant to be easily moved, accommodating classroom-style presentations or loose arrangements to support collaboration and small group meetings. A hospitality bar offers a great pre-function support space and a perfect reception arrangement for hosted events.
Climbing a colorfully winding staircase, learning labs fill the remainder space. One of which includes JA BizTown, is a fully interactive free-market lab where students learn what it means to be responsible business leaders, consumers, workers and citizens by participating in this simulated economy. They may perform specific jobs within 18 different shops, which are sponsored by Minnesota’s leading companies representing their industry or profession. The new building enables JAUM to double the number of students served each year from 17,000 to 34,000.
“We’re excited to be in a central location that is more easily accessible to our students, volunteers, and business partners,” said Gina Blayney, Jr. Achievement Upper Midwest (JAUM) President & CEO. “Our larger building and state-of-the-art technology will make it possible for us to impact thousands more students each year with our experiential programs. We have built a 21st century learning center for our region.”