11 Years in the Making: Pathways Middle School Opens Permanent Campus
October 10, 2017 – For the first time in its 11-year history, Pathways Middle School has a permanent structure filled with classrooms and learning spaces, a significant departure from the portable buildings and borrowed facilities used previously. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, community members and students alike marveled at the chance to put items in lockers, walk down hallways to class, and play basketball in their own gymnasium.
“These are huge changes, as lockers offer students a chance to get more organized and take care of their items. Having a cafeteria on campus cuts down on travel time and increases ownership of space,” boasted Principal Eric Eschen of the breadth of opportunities available with even simple novelties on their new campus. “The specialized classrooms will offer so many opportunities for linking core concepts to real hands-on application – a maker lab with circuits, coding, robots and bike maintenance, and our art room with a kiln, room to spread out, and drafting tables – taking students beyond theory and into practice.”
In addition to the unique learning spaces, the new Pathways campus has a large open space in the center of the building used as a cafeteria, auditorium or collaborative space as needed throughout the school day. Small study spaces provide dedicated room for small-group work or a quiet area for others to focus their attention. The furniture available in the new campus offers a more flexible learning environment as well.
“We find that many obstacles to student learning are relatively easy to fix. More one-on-one attention in a smaller class size is huge, but also being able to move around rather than being in a confined combo desk allows students to focus better,” Eschen explained. “Students are built to move, so allowing them to rock or stand while learning can make a big difference. These areas also offer student choice and control in how they interact with their environment.”
Pathways serves 7th- and 8th-grade students, and next year 6th-grade students, desiring an alternative learning environment to the traditional middle school.
“We are not sure what new traditions will come about, those pop up every year. However, our quarterly awards ceremony will be something special as we will be in our own space rather than borrowing. We are thrilled to be celebrating our achievements in our new facility,” Eschen shared.
Design West Architects and Kreizenbeck Constructors designed and built the new campus. The estimated project cost is $5.65 million, down from the original estimate of $6.3 million. The final cost will be determined at the end of October.