High School for Recording Arts

We need to develop a building to house our unique music industry program for at-risk students.

Founded by a collaborator with Prince, rapper David TC Ellis, HSRA is a public charter school that uses project-based learning and a professional music business curriculum to engage students who may have dropped out or been pushed out from traditional public schools. HSRA’s unique curriculum and student-centric approach required both innovative learning spaces and specific amenities like recording studios and performance spaces.

Through multiple renovation phases, Fielding International has collaborated with HSRA with to adapt a commercial type building into a truly unique school that’s divided into advisories around a central learning commons. With a student majority at the poverty line, services like counseling and mediation are available right in the school; sound booths, formal and informal stages and other amenities were integrated into the design. A recent phase fused a gym with a large gathering space through an easily convertible stage that can be folded up for sports events.

Here are some of the programs that were made possible through the renovation: Another Level Records is a student operated record and production company that allows learners to explore the operations of the music industry firsthand as they discover and record new artists, provide media content for various clients, negotiate contracts and publish and copyright new music. They also manufacture, market and distribute recording projects completed by HSRA students and other artists. Studio 4 All Access is a weekly half-hour show produced, hosted and performed musically by HSRA students. Past guests have included Ice Cube, Mos Def, Michael Eric Dyson and Lynn Whitfield. And in 2016, HSRA collaborated with Sounds of Blackness for the gospel hit “Royalty” on the school’s label Another Level Records. The song charted on Billboard for 32 weeks and was nominated for an NAACP image award.

Project Data

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Type: Renovation

Size: 15,000 SF

Cost: $2.6 Million

Date Opened: 2016

Design Team: Randy Fielding and Huichong Tang