A design for today’s education | AspenTimes.com

A design for today’s education

Dear Editor:At the request of one of my architects, who has spent a great deal of time on the current school bond, I have agreed to offer an opinion on the proposal to build a new middle school in lieu of remodeling and adding to the existing building – only part of the 3B bond referendum.In order for a building to be viable it needs to serve those who use it – it needs to be designed to the unique requirements of its occupants. Trends in education are consistently changing – those that are proven successful become timeless and those that are not are left behind. The existing middle school was designed around an open class concept. Class areas were grouped around central common areas with movable walls that were intended to open up to larger shared lecture areas. In practice, this was found to be more of a distraction than a benefit. It is easier to move the students into assembly spaces when instruction is desired for large groups than to move walls. Today’s education strives for smaller individual classrooms specifically designed for the curriculum being taught. The original vision of large open areas with windows at the perimeter is in reality many partitioned-off spaces with little natural light. Mechanical systems designed for open floor plans do not function efficiently in the closed-off spaces. Every aspect of this building is tied to its original design and the studied attempts to modify it were compromised by the same basic infrastructure failings. Remodeling and adding to the existing building was estimated at $14.5 million. A compromised fix to an ineffective building is not value added using our tax dollars. I support the new building designed by Scott Lindenau/Studio B Architects in partnership with Hutton Ford Architects specializing in school design. It is efficient, well-designed building based on timeless educational practices and worth the $22.5 million investment in our children and our community. I support 3B and for value-added tax dollars spent.Bill PossPoss Architecture + PlanningAspen

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