New 6- 8 Middle School
Tallmadge Middle School sits on a newly imagined campus, adjacent to the new elementary building. During the planning process, the architectural team hosted a visioning session, where educators, administrators, community members, and students developed three goals to drive the project: variety of spaces, transparency, and a sense of community. The resulting design enables teachers to abandon isolated teaching practices, and instead work together to instruct based on the developmental needs of students.
Perhaps most impressive has been the ability of SōL Harris/Day to achieve this success within the constraints of the Ohio Schools Facility Commission process. Through the many projects they have completed with the OSFC, they have earned the trust of the Commission enabling them to efficiently balance the desires of the local school district while meeting the requirements of the State.
Jeff Hostetler, Treasurer, Tallmadge City Schools
The overall school building organization houses large public common areas in the center, progressing outward to open “collaboration stairs”, group studios, small group rooms, and focused learning studios. As a result, various grade levels and activities mix naturally, facilitating casual mentorship between educators and students. Large group studios in each grade provide a relaxed spot for students to work alone or in groups, choosing flexible furnishings that work best for their preference and given activity.
One unique feature of the middle school stemmed from the District’s emphasis on project-based learning and creating opportunities for self-discovery through “hands-on” activities. A two-story production studio, visible as you enter the school building, encourages kids to imagine, experiment, build, and create. A glass garage door leads to the Outdoor Learning Lab, a place for students to build and test larger ideas. Perched above the production studio is a robotics lab for project-based exploration, tinkering, and app development.
The interior design and material selections use colors associated with memory, focus, relaxation and stimulation, depending on the function of the educational space. Tech inspired graphics, like the floor’s yellow caution striping and geometric wall patterns, are incorporated into the interior design. The bright open atmosphere and visual connections to the outdoors enhance transparency and help achieve the District’s LEED Silver sustainability goals.
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