In 2009 the citizens of Clayton, MO authorized the funding for the school district’s first new ground-up middle school since 1942. The project was daunting and complex, and required a design that would respect the surrounding historic context, allow the existing middle school to remain operational during the three-year construction period and deliver the full program desired by the school district on a site that is only 4.25 acres.
During the programming phase we met with the Board of Education, the administration, teachers, parents, and students in a variety of formats, including town halls and focus groups. The resulting design is truly a middle school of the twenty-first century.
By integrating clerestory windows into all the learning spaces, studentsa and teachers work, study and socialize in an abundance of natural light throughout the entire school day. The school is organized around a “main street” that serves as a multi-purpose event space, the school’s cafeteria, and the circulation spine. Located above “main street” on the second floor is the school’s library and student lounge area. Branching off of “main street” are the two academic wings that contain all the classrooms, labs, and learning center spaces, as well as the gymnasium and performing arts theater. The learning environment also extends outdoors with two roof top and two ground-level outdoor classrooms. Many sustainable design practices are employed, with LEED Silver certification as the goal for the building.