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Board Reviews New Design for Strickland Middle School

During their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23, members of the Board of Trustees reviewed preliminary plans presented by VLK Architects, for a complete re-design and rebuild of Strickland Middle School on its current site. The campus is one of the key projects voters approved in May 2018 as part of a series of Capital Improvement Plan targeting the district’s older facilities.


Construction will open up the campus with 37,294 square feet of new construction and renovate 155,123 square feet to match. The core of the middle school facility was built in 1968 and the majority of additions and upgrades were made 21 years ago.


“If you think about how far we’ve come in the last 20-plus years with respect to science labs, technology needs and learning styles, these improvements are key to student success,” said Dr. Mike Mattingly, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. “By converting the existing basement into a two-story media center, it becomes the absolute center of learning.”


The project will build upon and incorporate the many strong traditions of the neighborhood and campus. The plan is to create teaching and learning opportunities in new spaces that will complement intentional learning.


Construction will begin in June 2019 and will take place over a 24-month period. The school will continue to function daily as a middle school during the rebuild while continuing to support the 1,000, sixth through eighth graders who currently attend.


“It’s so awesome and different from what we have now that it is hard to imagine,” said Kathleen Carmona, Strickland Middle School principal. “VLK has truly listened to a large number of students, staff, parents and district administrators to come up with a design plan that considers the learning needs of all of our students.”


Through a series of meetings that began in July, a 38-member team of students, parents and staff, worked in teams creating the conceptual framework for the design which was developed into the schematic design. In this process, participants discussed what they would want the exterior and interior of the school to look like and the type and scale of spaces.


The design concepts will group grade levels into “wings” much like the current middle school model that connects classrooms with collaborative learning spaces. The auditorium/theater will receive an upgrade to fixtures and systems while maintaining its classic charm, honoring the school’s history.


The campus’ main entrance will orient to Bell Avenue, highlighted by an improved traffic flow and 94 additional parking spaces. Per the district’s recent safety initiative, the school will have upgrades with a secured safe entry and an area that will function as a storm shelter.