After successfully passing a referendum in 2019, Jackson County Central Schools began work on an 84,000 sf two-story addition to one of their existing elementary schools, maximizing the use of the site for outdoor activities while reducing the building’s overall footprint and costs. The project was guided by the desire to address physical building needs, educational and student program needs, community access and facility use, as well as improving operational efficiency on a district-wide basis.
Inclusive Design As safety in our schools continues to evolve, a greater understanding of what makes staff and students feel safe becomes more apparent. We continue to seek out improvements to design and operation of schools with the concept of achieving total child wellness — feeling safe anywhere inside the school. This is also a goal for Jackson County Central Schools and led to the use of Universal Toilet Rooms at the new middle school.
“The Universal Toilets are more inclusive for everyone. Middle School is difficult already with all the social pressures and this helps relieve some of that pressure for students. I have received emails from students that has shown me that what we are doing is right.”
– Principal Chris Naumann
Flexibility and Variety Teaching and learning programs at the critical middle level student age are enhanced by a modern facility that allows for collaborative and explorative learning, better preparing students for the transition to the high school grades. With a comprehensive reconfiguration, the new middle school provides both supervised and collaborative learning spaces aided by glass walls facing the hallways. Students now have access to an open media spaces and private break-out rooms – leveraging opportunities for both independent and flexible work environments.
“The biggest thing is we’ll have flexibility and room for kids to work and work on projects where they can get their hands on and be more learner centered. So students will have the opportunity to use whether a clean lab or we call it a dirty lab where they can work on auto mechanics or do some different things with woodworking and have flexible labs so kids can work on multiple projects instead of just being fixed to one area.” – Barry Schmidt, Superintendent
Bringing Students Together Jackson County Central Schools had been meeting the needs of its PK-12 students across four school buildings located on four separate campuses in two different towns. Adding the middle school to their existing Pleasantview Elementary site, creates a shared 4-8 grade level campus for their District. This campus approach not only ensures continuity of collaborative and project-based learning opportunities through all of these grade ranges, it also establishes a community destination for activities in Lakefield, MN. By co-locating the middle school at an elementary site, parents of students in grades 4-8 have the convenience of a one stop location. This campus approach also saves the district operational dollars by going from four to three campuses.