Southern Middle School Renovation Update

Last Updated on Dec 16, 2014 at 3:36pm |

A presentation was made to the Board of Education during its regular monthly meeting on December 10, 2014, by Mr. Mike Gehr, Principal at Bushey Feight Morin Architects, Inc.  Mr. Gehr presented an update of the “Design Development” phase and shared schematics of the Southern Middle School renovation project.  The intent was to solicit input and agreement before moving on to the next phase of the project: development of the construction documents.
 
An effort has been applied to design the school for maximum educational suitability and flexibility, as well as provide a facility that has many benefits to the local community.  Mr. Gehr highlighted the following aspects during the meeting:
  • The entrances to the school, driveways, and parking lots are being designed for efficient loading and unloading of students (new bus and parent loops).  Additional parking spaces are being provided to support the Performing Arts Center and the redesigned gymnasium.
  • New tennis courts, a walking trail, and a wetlands educational area are being designed for the site.
  • There will be exterior storage spaces for athletic and recreational equipment.
  • Additional restrooms, interior and exterior accessibility, will serve the athletic fields and the Performing Arts Center.
  • Hallways and entrances have been designed for community access to the school without sacrificing the security of the educational spaces.
  • Interior community use spaces include a full size classroom, computer lab, STEM / robotics lab, tech ed. lab, choral / music room, a 500+ seat Performing Arts Center, and a redesigned gymnasium with new bleacher seating.  
  • Educational spaces are being designed to allow maximum flexibility.  This will prepare the facility to adapt to changing conditions in the school system and the delivery of educational services.  
 
The newly renovated school with the Performing Arts Center promises to increase and enhance opportunities students currently have in the district’s fine arts curriculum, as well as the sciences. According to the Executive Summary of the September 2014 release of The Governor’s P-20 Leadership Council Task Force on Arts Education in Maryland Schools, “…the authentic integration of the arts and sciences is critical for our students to be globally competitive and for our country to be economically vital. Research and input from the business community have reinforced the value of creative thinking, experiential artistry, problem solving, collaboration, and artistic design to the scientific process.”  Students attending Garrett County Public Schools do not have a dedicated auditorium or performing arts center and they are no less deserving than other students across the State of Maryland. The very talented community groups deserve access to such a venue too!
 
The public is invited to view the schematic designs in the lobby of the Board of Education building or click here to view online.