Tri-North Middle School

Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) identified the need to replace the aging Tri-North Middle School. CSO and BrainSpaces, an expert in brain-based educational planning and design, led a visioning and programming process that enabled CSO to design a new building tailored to the specific needs and vision of Tri-North students, teachers, and administrators.

The building layout utilizes next generation learning elements including an open media center, collaboration spaces, and small group rooms throughout the building. Teachers and administrators expressed the need for spaces to be flexible and adaptable to a rapidly changing educational world. CSO’s design addresses the need for flexibility by implementing features such as the use of operable theater seating in the Performance / Large Group Instruction space, operable partitions in Science and STEM labs, and spaces that are planned to facilitate the use of both departmental and interdisciplinary teaching models.

MCCSC also emphasized the need for sustainable design considerations which were implemented with plans for a geothermal system, solar array on the gym roof, and use of local materials and native plants. The leadership of MCCSC is excited for the New Tri-North Middle School to be the crown jewel for this Bloomington community.

Central Middle School

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.

Deer Creek Elementary School

The design of this new two-story K-4 elementary builds on concepts from CSO’s design of Southeastern Elementary School. While programming for this new school with HSE administrators, principals, and faculty, the design team determined the previous school design was a resounding success and very few enhancements were recommended for improvement. Daylighting and views, visibility, flexible furniture, classroom extensions, and multiple types of learning spaces are still key elements of the inquiry-based learning environment created.

Each learning neighborhood includes six studios (classrooms) and a central shared activity commons that is large enough for the entire neighborhood to gather. Also included in each neighborhood is a small STEM lab/kitchenette, three small group rooms, and three sets of student restrooms. Outdoor courtyards, patios, and rooftop terraces help bring the outdoors in and provide additional opportunity for extending the classroom outside.

Adjacent to the learning neighborhoods are instructional spaces for art and music along with a language/global studies/resource studio The close proximity between the neighborhoods and the enrichment areas provides the possibility of a flex classroom should a grade level size fluctuate and need an additional classroom.

The most central point in the building is the Discovery Center (Media Center) and support spaces. A large, two-story open area draws students into the space with various zones for gathering and reading as well as providing space for media production.