Part II – The Future Home of Equity Schools is Complete!

Two years ago I wrote “Part I” of this story, noting that we were developing a “friendly, productive, and fun” working space in a 110-year-old active train station. And we like to tell folks our “Nonlinear Funding” strategies look for sources in unexpected and non-obvious places, so locating our office in a train station seemed appropriate.

Before: Two Decades of Entropy

In “Part I” I included images of the space as we found it. After sitting vacant for 20 years, the only living occupants were lots of black mold.

We evicted the mold and then embarked on a tortuous journey of bureaucracies, contractors, expensive surprises, and finally – without question – a genuine transformation (of the space, but also for a few of us who worked on it).

Let me just say it was a journey of discovery and leave it at that.

To appreciate what we’ve done, you first should review the images of how we found the space:

So, what does it look like now?

After: A Vibrant New Workspace

Before I show you the “after” images, here are some of the things we included that I thought would make it “friendly, productive, and fun.” Yes, we have work stations and a kitchenette, but we also built:

  • Gallery (exhibiting some of our most visually interesting projects)
  • Steel Wall (steel plates bolted to a wall so we can use magnets to put up plans)
  • Creative Room (this really is where we get together to work on things; I think of it as our Nonlinear Skunk Works)
  • The Cabin (we’ve probably all been in too many meeting and conference rooms… but who doesn’t enjoy a cozy cabin instead? We thought that might be better)
  • The Pond Ripple Ceiling (in the Cabin; muse on the impact of a pond ripple? … not really, it just looks cool)
  • “Prison Yard” (outside our back door, behind chain link and barbed wire, is a small green space we’ve cleaned up and re-planted with milkweed for Monarch butterflies … doesn’t “Butterfly Sanctuary” sound a little better than “Prison Yard?”)

So for now, here are a few images. What you’re missing, of course, are the rumble and vibrations of 400,000-pound heavy trains that periodically pass over our heads.

The Result

I can attest that everyone – and I mean everyone – who has visited us enjoys the space, and we have great meetings and conversations. People really like the warmth, the feel, and the element of re-purposed space and furnishings (a large portion of which came from deconstruction projects and charitable resale shops; we like it, and we like what it means).

You know, now that I look at these new images and think about the work we put into it, I’m going to parcel out some of the cooler elements into separate Posts. They deserve it.

Come visit us when you’re in town! You can take the train.

3 Comments. Leave new

Jennifer Shadur
February 15, 2020 11:48 AM

Love, love, love the new space! The adaptive reuse, the bringing to life an exciting space out of something that was just left to rot, the collaborative work zones, the CABIN! It’s all…very inspiring. Truly speaks to your commitment to always find solutions where others see none. Congratulations!

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Having been there, I can attest that the space looks fantastic, is warm, welcoming, playful and interesting. All very much like Rick. Be sure to see it if you are in the neighborhood.

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It looks wonderful! Congrats.

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