The current Middleboro High School was built in the early 1970s. Due to the age of our school, the interior, and exterior, are suffering from erosion, and old fashioned structure. The 2010 ADA standards for accessible design in schools enlists a series of revised regulations including sufficient acoustics, windowed classrooms, avoidance of glare, and historic preservation. The revised standards contradict the violations present in Middleboro High School, in which were grandfathered in after many years. The current condition of the high school is not suitable for a sufficient learning environment, drawing the school board to initiate the construction of a new school. The design for the new school is being discussed in a series of community forums, and staff and student meetings. Universal regulations for school buildings in the 21st century are to be met within the new school building.
In preparing the interior of the new school, it is important to consider the color choice, temperature, and seating arrangement in order to ensure the highest focus on student learning. The current high school offers, in most classrooms, cinder block walls painted an off-white color. These walls; however, may not be providing a sufficient environment for students to focus. Studies demonstrate that walls painted white offer a sterile tone to the space, and have potential to intimidate those within the environment. The Director of Color Marketing for Sherwin-Williams Jackie Jordan detailed that environments painted with warm gray hues prevent eye fatigue, and aid in better concentration. In constructing future classrooms, it is especially beneficial that the environment be painted with colors that statistically enhance concentration, and energy, allowing both students and teachers to succeed in getting work done in the classroom. Additionally, temperature regulation is a necessity for most classrooms in the building. The current high school does not offer air conditioning, and in the humid early fall and late spring days, the school building is sweltering. Teachers consider moving their classroom to the auditorium in search of cooler air to alleviate student discomfort. Alli Nickerson, a junior at MHS described that “the heat strongly distracts students from their learning.” An installed air conditioning system in the new school building would allow the student body to be more comfortable in their learning environment during the heat. Additionally, the seating situation in classrooms is a major factor in the comfort level of the environment. Many MHS students suggest that chairs separated from desks will offer extra comfort, especially for those of various heights and sizes. Nickerson also demonstrated her wish for rotating chairs, “in order to keep brain’s activated while taking notes.” Providing ample comfort for the student body will result in a heightened focus on the education offered at the building.
In addition, MHS is known to face technological difficulties that disrupt student learning. Schoolwide, every week, students and staff alike suffer from lack of wifi, causing major interruption to the student’s education. Nickerson added that “the wifi never works, and a lot of times teachers have trouble pulling up videos that were scheduled for the class.” This disruption causes teachers to have to rearrange their lesson plans, which takes away time from the student’s learning. Improved technological advancements in the future high school will be incomplete without the installment of a working wifi connection.
Middleboro High School takes pride in its many accomplishing sports teams; however, the fields and facilities by which these teams practice are run down, and heavily interfere with how much they are able to play, and practice. Nickerson, a soccer player at MHS illustrated that “we leave the field with more dirt on us than grass stains,” in which details the lack of comfort, and sustainability that MHS offers to their students involved in athletics. The track is destroyed by graffitied profanities and potholes, and the gym’s rubber floor is ripping at the seams. The track team runs around slippery hallways during practice in the winter months, illustrating the lack of suitable environment for athletes. Introducing turf fields, a new track, and a wooden gym floor would especially aid in the steady improvement of our school athletics.
In addition to interior and exterior structure of the building, an important factor in attaining a high school education is attendance, and being to school on time. Unfortunately, MHS experiences heavy traffic each morning at the single entrance offered to the school. Nickerson noted that she has “definitely had traffic troubles, and [she] knows others have too,” when asked about her ease of transport to school each morning. Nickerson developed her thoughts when she explained that the traffic “affects our attendance, which can link to lost credit in the long run.” Attendance is crucial to a learning environment, marking the necessity for a potential second entrance to the future high school, or additional crossing guard assistance to ease the backup.
Several considerations are to be taken in designing, and constructing the new high school building. It is of utmost importance that the future school offers an environment suitable for the thriving of our students and staff alike.