Getting faculty’s opinion: School architect hearing voices of teachers
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Jul 01, 2013 | 1981 views | 0 0 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLEVELAND BOARD OF EDUCATION members discussed the new elementary school design with Upland Design architect Brian Templeton, following a recent site committee meeting. From left, Dawn Robinson, Templeton, Peggy Pesterfield, Richard Shaw and Murl Dirksen. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
CLEVELAND BOARD OF EDUCATION members discussed the new elementary school design with Upland Design architect Brian Templeton, following a recent site committee meeting. From left, Dawn Robinson, Templeton, Peggy Pesterfield, Richard Shaw and Murl Dirksen. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
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Teachers and faculty have been meeting with Upland Design architect Brian Templeton to share what they would like to see in the new city elementary school.

According to Paul Ramsey, energy education specialist, he and Templeton have had more than 15 meetings with various groups of teachers and school staff. Representatives were seen from kindergarten and grades 1-5, the cafeteria, nurses, English as a second language, IT and music teachers, among others.

Each group shared what would be ideal for their grade level or area of the building.

Murl Dirksen, site committee chair, said Templeton will take the input and decide how the educational program fits into the building’s available space. The program is set to be presented to the school board at August’s meeting.

“At that point, we can say, ‘Yeah, that is what we want,’ or, ‘No, we want bigger bathrooms,’” Ramsey said. “We can say if we want a bigger cafeteria or we don’t want a room included.”

Schematics will be drawn up once the program is decided upon. Dirksen said the board will review the schematics before a presentation is made to the City Council around mid-September.

Some suggestions were shared with the school board at a recent site committee meeting.

Templeton said Upland was looking into what could be done to provide a safe place for students in the event of severe weather.

One idea is to create a space with only one door and no windows.

Dirksen shed some light on the matter.

“I think we have been looking at a number of different designs because of the tornadoes and everything else,” Dirksen said. “[Templeton] was talking about a storage room in each classroom that would be large enough to hold the students.”

Teachers debated whether they would like to have an auditorium or a multipurpose room like the one found in Stuart Elementary.

Tom Cloud, board member, spoke on the benefits of having a multipurpose room from the perspective of a former teacher.

“Some people don’t fully understand. If we have a school with 500 students, there is not a time during the day when the gym is going to be empty on a rainy day for kids to run in there and play. The gym is full every hour of every day.”

Cloud’s assessment of the gym’s general activity was in support of a multipurpose room.

Another board member pointed out how vital such a room at Stuart Elementary has been for various activities.

Additional suggestions made by teachers and staff included:

- Bulletproof windows either throughout the school or around the main entrance.

Templeton suggested laminated windows. (Such windows would not stop bullets, but the windows would not shatter if hit by flying objects).

- A computer lab for each wing so students of every grade level would be able to take advantage of the technology.

- A shared science classroom, especially one to be used between the fourth and fifth grade classes.

- A door leading to a secure yard where either lessons can be taught outside or children can have an opportunity to get some fresh air.

Dirksen thanked Ramsey and Templeton for their work in gathering information from teachers and staff.

“We are excited about the design,” Templeton said. “This is setting up to be a very nice project.”