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Spanish Fort Middle School Case Study

Spanish Fort Middle School Case Study

Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood architects partnered with the Baldwin County Board of Education to design a middle school that was comfortable, safe, and modern, and one that would provide a student-friendly environment to enhance the learning process. As such, Spanish Fort Middle School in Spanish Fort, Alabama was born.

Principal Carol Palumbo has found that the new building has contributed to a successful operation from the standpoint of the students and staff. “The school functions beautifully – the design aspects of light and windows create the feeling of open space, the faculty and students love the cafeteria, in most schools the cafeteria is very loud, but the cafeteria design reduces the sound level. Most importantly, the sense of responsibility that the students now have for the school demonstrates their pride in the new surroundings. There are even rumors that the high school students are jealous.”

Hallways may be considered just places of transition for many schools, but Spanish Fort developers wanted a space where students could also congregate and socialize. A key feature of the corridors and open spaces is interior windows. This creates a sense of freedom for the student body while enabling teachers to monitor activities at all times.

The facility features 44 classrooms with an area able to accommodate an additional four classrooms on the fourth floor. Right now the school houses 700 students. Palumbo reports that there has been a remarkable impact on morale and that disciplinary issues have gone down. It’s still too early to say what the impact on learning will be, but she anticipates that there will be testing improvements.

Teachers find the classroom design ideal. They are thrilled with the size, and the capacity for an average of 25-30 students per class. There is now room for hands-on science experiments and home economics classes that had been severely limited by the space in the old school. Color also plays an important role in the design. “We wanted to create a building to foster teaching and learning,” says Jim Walker, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood’s Project Architect. For example, the color green was used because it is thought to encourage intelligent thought and learning. “The school was built with expansion and future growth in mind.” The design is economical by having met the requirements for a modern, comfortable school with the flexibility for expansion as additional classrooms and educational programs develop.

Click here to see enlarged building plans.

Site Plan
Site Plan

First Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan


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