Elsie Robertson Middle School is scheduled for replacement with the new facility scheduled to open in the fall of 2020. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall of 2018. The new facility will be located south of the existing building and will incorporate the existing auditorium. This will allow the existing facility to remain open through the spring semester of 2020 before being demolished. The area occupied by the old building will be replaced with a community walking path and parking in front of the new middle school.
The new facility is designed with a three-story academic wing on the west side of the building and public spaces on the east and south. You enter the building through a secure vestibule directly into the student commons. The commons directly connects you to the campus administration, the library and outdoor learning, food service, fine arts adjacent to the auditorium, and athletics to the south, adjacent to the outdoor fields. The academic wing is three stories with the special instruction, art and technology labs located on the first floor and standard classrooms located on the floors above. The second floor will connect to the balcony of the auditorium through the commons. The configuration of the third floor is identical to the second, with science lab/lecture classrooms located in the center and standard classrooms around the perimeter. The upper two floors are arranged into six “houses” or “pods” with associated collaboration workrooms and breakout spaces.
The front of the building has a cast stone colonnade with stepped detailing that mimics the detailing of the 1984 auditorium building. The three-story academic building is primarily a red brick blend with horizontal banding of the brown brick which matches the brick from the auditorium. The entry porch is raised and projected to match the scale of the curved colonnade and direct vehicles and pedestrians to the front door of the new school. The east portion of the colonnade is a covered porch providing shelter outside the cafeteria for students waiting to be picked up.
The west and south side of the academic tower continues with the red brick blend on a one-story gray brick base. The first story houses larger spaces such as technology labs and special instruction and has appropriately taller windows. The second and third story shows clusters of smaller square windows for each classroom. The clusters provide a little playfulness, but are stacked floor to floor to reveal the buildings straightforward organization. The masonry on the southeast corners is raised up to increase natural light into the library and to reinforce the connection between the library and the outdoor learning area.
The outdoor learning area will have small hills, built-in seating, trees, and an adjacent covered area. It will have access from the library, art room, commons and the corridor connecting the academic and athletic areas of the building. The design of this space will accommodate individual, small group and classroom sized gatherings, as well as outdoor eating and pre-function area for events in the gym or auditorium.
The locker room, gymnasiums and fine arts support spaces flip the masonry pattern using the brown brick as the primary color with the red as the accent. This ties to the existing auditorium more directly and distinguishes the public and extracurricular areas from academic parts of the building. The cast stone used on the athletic canopy is consistent with that on the main entrance of the building.
The new Elsie Robertson Middle School will adhere to sound construction practices and utilize materials, methods, and equipment of proven dependability. This new middle school will be economical to build, operate, and maintain, and it will be sustainable and fully accessible to the handicapped.