Space and technology needs have changed along with education theory and technology at Streetsboro Middle School, said Principal Steve Hatch.
The building, as it is now, is overwhelmed with students, he said. One trailer is used to accommodate classes currently, he said, and students cannot bring backpacks into classes because they take up too much space.
"Looking at what's going to happen next year and the year after at the middle school, I can't accommodate those kids with the existing staff," said Hatch.
The seventh-grade has 157 members this year, and the eighth-grade has 154 members, according to the district's October enrollment figures. Most of the classes coming up through the elementary grades are as big or larger than that.
According to the October enrollment count for the district, next year's seventh-grade class includes 179 students.
Currently, two algebra classes have about 30 kids apiece, and all the language arts classes range from 25 to 28 students.
"We're utilizing all the classes that we have," said Hatch. "I don't have any open classrooms that can be used."
Under the school district's facilities master plan, the seventh- and eighth-graders would be joined by sixth-graders at the current high school, which will be renovated.
Based on students' success recent Local Report Cards issued by the state, Hatch said enrollment at the middle school high school will continue to rise.
"You're seeing more and more parents with young families and middle school age and high school age families that are moving here because they want their kids to get a good education, so those numbers are going to climb," said Hatch.
Current teaching methods also cut into space, said Hatch.
In 1967, when the middle school was built, Hatch said teachers worked very differently from the way they do now. Classrooms were designed to have five or six rows of desks facing a teacher lecturing from a desk or podium, said Hatch.
"Today, when you walk around these classrooms, rarely do you see a teacher standing in front of the kids lecturing," he said.
Instead, students are working together on projects, or researching information via technology. Much more emphasis is placed on the ability of students to work together and use the Internet as a research tool, said Hatch.
"We have them doing hands-on movements," he said. "Kids have to be able to move."
Technology also demands space. Many classrooms in the middle school have a row of four or five desktop computers along a wall, but what space would be required for technology in a renovated high school is an unresolved question.
"We're teaching the kids how to apply and use technology in a way businesses might expect them to be able to," said Hatch, pointing to the school's Science, Technology and Math class and club as a perfect example of what education should look like.
The STEM lab is located in the building's basement, which was renovated as a STEM room by Geis Co. several years ago, he added.
In her science room, there are no sinks and no appropriate storage, said Streetsboro Middle School teacher Gwen Collins.
"It's hard to do some of the things that the state wants us to do," she said. Without appropriate storage and infrastructure, she said it's difficult to things as well and safety as needed.
Regardless, classrooms would be 900 square feet and fit up to 25 students, per Ohio Facilities Construction Commission guidelines.
Based on the OFCC's 2013 design guidelines, a sixth- through eighth-grade middle or junior high school should be between 72,000- and 73,000-square-feet in size for a student body of 490.
FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens