The various reports on the status of the expansion of School District 4 leads me to the following Memo to Our New Architects.
There has been a lot of talk about classroom sizes, one or two middle schools, temporaries, gyms, libraries, etc., but nothing about the atmosphere and spirit of the new construction we so desperately need.
1. Maybe the 25' x 30' classroom with its metal study desks and typical blackboards could be reconsidered in terms of its humanity. When we first meet with John Keats and when we talk about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the atmosphere of our classrooms should be a lot more sophisticated and inspiring.
2. Our system of "houses" in the middle school could have an expression on the new exterior as well as the interior to help identify the various groups.
3. Any new auditorium or other meeting room we construct should consider that the "watching" student body is the same as the "acting" one. Maybe more of a "theater in the round" concept would be truer to the purpose and promote the cooperative will of the students, actors, lecturers, musicians, etc.
4. New art studios enhance the feeling of the "independent" artist and the "discipline" incumbent upon him. Much has been made of the "garrett" - maybe we need a little of its where the teaching of art and architecture is going on. Lord knows it's tough enough - any help one can get is welcome.
5. Any new laboratories could benefit by reflecting the complexities of the various processes, the intricacies of the equipment. All of that to build up the excitement as an experiment is in progress.
At this critical juncture, the community and the administration should express their philosophies about education so that our architects have the guidance they need to design a school for "us" District 4 and not give us a string of typical classrooms! The points I made are but a start for the instructions to the architects and should be developed much further and should be ongoing throughout the design process.
Eric J. Pick