IGAL Academy

Goodwyn Mills Cawood transformed an abandoned facility into the IGAL Academy, a cutting-edge learning campus with open classrooms, natural lighting, and flexible spaces in Sandersville.

  • area / size 13,500 sqft
  • Completed 2023
  • The IGAL Academy project is more than just a building; it’s a story of rehabilitation and reinvention. The Washington County School District had a vision to create a cutting-edge learning facility that focused on STEAM subjects for elementary-level students. Instead of building from scratch, the school district decided to revitalize an abandoned juvenile justice facility located adjacent to the existing high school. Goodwyn Mills Cawood’s design team reimagined a structure built for a detention center and turned it into a campus that reflects an atmosphere of advancement and achievement.

    To bring the vision to life, heavy concrete walls that separated jail cells were torn out to create open classroom spaces. Cell windows were repurposed to add natural lighting by using the window’s collective sunlight. Creative variations in finish textures, colors, and lighting were used to create engaging visual backgrounds for the lessons, keeping young students interested and improving attentiveness.

    Each classroom space was designed to feature flexible, hanging shelving and organizational surfaces along with mobile teaching technology ensuring teachers can reorganize their rooms to best serve their educational tasks and curricula. At the Academy, students rotate through the building every four weeks, with classes related to hydroponics, coding, robotics and forensics.

    The IGAL Academy borders Washington County High School’s campus which also allows high school students to utilize the state-of-the-art culinary classroom. Other features of the project include a space for performing arts and new tennis courts, both of which can accommodate events that bring the community together.

    The IGAL Academy is a standout example of how the spirit of a community can change the course of young people’s lives through the built environment.

    Design: Goodwyn Mills Cawood
    Contractor: Carroll Daniel Construction Company
    Photography: Jesse Miller