Part of the second phase of an overall campus master plan developed by ESa, this new 1,000-student middle school is designed to accommodate a Project-Based Learning curriculum, which encourages learning through open-ended problem solving and collaboration, within the district’s budget. Grades are grouped into “neighborhoods” and classrooms are equipped with sliding glass walls that open to create large shared common spaces. In addition to the collaborative spaces in each neighborhood, there are two dedicated STEM labs available to students during scheduled lab times and free periods. Uniquely, Maury County Public Schools classify fifth graders as middle schoolers. To help with the transition into middle school, fifth grade students have their own dedicated wing and playground, the design of which mimics the elementary school, to limit daily interactions with older students.

Oriented around a central courtyard with multiple outdoor teaching zones, each neighborhood has access to spaces for safe outdoor play and outside events. Designed to take advantage of the rolling topography of the region, the facility’s split-level floor plan responds to the site. Throughout the school, windows maximize natural light and offer views of the surrounding countryside, while the architectural palette includes a wood-look cladding system that honors the region’s rural, agricultural history.

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