The replacement project for Central Middle School started with a series of workshops involving students, administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and Columbus community members. The goals for Central Middle School were to prepare for change in the future, promote collaboration through student-centered teams, integrate technology, incorporate flexible spaces, encourage community use and partnerships, and create a secure yet accessible environment.
CSO worked in collaboration with Perkins + Will to plan a flexible facility that would accommodate future growth and curriculum changes. The school is zoned into two components: an academic zone and a public zone. In the academic zone, spaces are grouped together to support the middle school team model and create a smaller scale environment for students, while remaining flexible for future teaching needs. Twenty four classrooms are grouped into teams consisting of three classrooms, a laboratory, and a shared space. Public spaces are separated from academic spaces by the building’s main entry. A multi-story commons acts as a cafeteria and multi-functional hub for students.
The use of historic signage and façade elements allow this new school to blend in with historic downtown Columbus. Significant green spaces create an educational park for the town while maintaining a neighborhood identity.