Innovative building houses Cognia’s innovation incubator and assessment scoring center, training rooms, for education seminars and workshops


Driving down the 9100 block of Westside Parkway here, you may notice the new “Cognia” sign on the nonprofit’s headquarters. A few hundred yards away from the main building, connected by a walking bridge, you will also see the organization’s recently completed, three-story, 40,000-square foot Building II, which opened for business and tours today.

Cognia—which offers accreditation, assessment, and school-improvement services throughout the United States and in more than 80 countries—began construction on the new building in fall 2018 in anticipation of new services resulting from the 2019 merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress.

“The air bridge that connects the headquarters to the new building,” says Cognia president and CEO Dr. Mark A. Elgart, “symbolizes the organization’s connection to its longstanding history in school improvement and accreditation, while bridging the gap with assessment and innovation. The building will house Cognia’s innovation incubator and assessment scoring center.

“The new building will be the home of our Center for Innovation where research and development intersect with solutions design and strategic partnership development,” said Elgart

Elgart notes that the building also features on the first floor a large pre-function area that leads to two instructional classrooms where educators can come for workshops and seminars —designed to support the education community.

Design and construction

The design, construction, and outfitting of the building was a collaborative process between Cognia staff and the organization’s construction team, including the architecture firm Warren Epstein & Associates and general contractor, JE Dunn Construction Co.—the same contractors that worked with AdvancED on the 2010 construction of the corporate headquarters—in partnership with furniture provider partner, Atlanta’s Office Furniture Expo.

Building II continues Cognia’s green sustainability effort that encompassed the construction the original AdvancED corporate headquarters (2010) from the design to the sourcing of materials locally and regionally.

The building was designed and built with leading-edge technology from the ground up—all with environmental consciousness in mind. A few of the construction facts about the building include:

  • Insulated outside exterior wall panels intricately made and pieced together like a puzzle (These panels overlaid over the steel structure help to control temperature changes.)
  • Low emissive roof which reflects sunlight
  • Low VOC or Volatile Organic Compounds paint cutting down on the harmful gasses emitted by conventional paint thus providing healthier and cleaner air in the building
  • A system that redirects ground water back into the ground preventing storm water run-off into local streams and sewer system
  • LED lighting installed throughout
  • Construction materials made with recycled composite materials

Building II was built over existing parking space, so the goal was to be sustainable in maximizing the site while leaving greenspace untouched.

The new building features some of the same design and construction practices used in the original build of the corporate headquarters but even more technologically advanced.

The third floor has an open design to increase the availability of natural lighting and create a collaborative, open, and creative workspace for everyone. Open stairs connect the floors and enhances the experience of the building allowing staff and guests to never have to go through a door to get to the staircase on each floor. The unique curved-glass staircase features glass panels that had to be measured individually from post-to-post and then fabricated.

Cognia, as it has done in its main headquarters building, will commission local artists to create one-of-a-kind works of art to display throughout the building.

About Cognia
Cognia has the knowledge to help schools improve. Cognia offers accreditation and certification, assessment, professional learning and improvement services within a framework of continuous improvement. The result of the merger of AdvancED and Measured Progress, Cognia was formed to bridge the gap between school evaluation and student assessment. As a global nonprofit working in over 80 countries, our 36,000 institutions serve and support nearly 25 million students and 5 million educators every day. Cognia is an undeniable force for enhancing schools, engaging students, and driving better outcomes for all. Find out more at cognia.org.