The ongoing renovation of East Syracuse Minoa’s Pine Grove Middle School provides a unique and time-sensitive opportunity to better understand the effects of changes in students' physical environment on their learning and problem solving skills.  Factors such as indoor environmental quality (i.e. natural light levels, CO2 concentrations, background noise, etc.) and the built environment (i.e. flexible classroom configurations, adjacencies, state-of-the art technology & building systems, etc.) have all been proposed to affect cognitive function. This project will test this hypothesis in a middle school setting in a very focused and intentional way. Project partners in this research effort include King+King Architects, East Syracuse Minoa School District and the East Syracuse Minoa Education Foundation, SyracuseCoE, Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Please see below link for a video overview of this exciting project.

Interesting IAQ News...

Please see this recently published pioneering research done at SyracuseCoE's Total Indoor Environmental Quality Lab,, by researchers from Harvard University, Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University.

In this study, researchers found that cognitive performance scores for the participants who worked in green+ environments were, on average, double those of participants who worked in conventional environments; scores for those working in green environments were 61% higher. Measuring nine cognitive function domains, researchers found that the largest improvements occurred in the areas of:
Crisis response (97% higher scores in green conditions and 131% higher in green+)
Strategy (183% and 288% higher)
Information usage (172% and 299% higher)
In addition, when researchers looked at the effect of CO2—not normally thought of as a direct indoor pollutant—they found that, for seven of the nine cognitive functions tested, average scores decreased as CO2 levels increased to levels commonly observed in many indoor environments.

For more information on the study and its findings, visit: