Middle School Construction of Collaborative Spaces Nearing Completion

Construction workers build the Prompton Dam in Pennsylvania. Photo Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Creative Commons License)

By Contributing Writer Riley Kim (’24)

While J-D High School has had its fair share of construction, so has J-D Middle School. Principal Andy Eldridge detailed the recent changes to the Middle School in an interview with the RamPage.

Similar to the High School, the construction for the Middle School has yet to be fully finished. Construction started in June 2021, making it almost two years since construction began. There are multiple areas of construction. The library has been closed for almost two years because of COVID, and then due to the construction. The gym is getting new lockers, as well as a whole new area for more yoga inclusive activities. However, the main point of construction was the large group room. What was originally a clam-shaped room, as Eldridge put it, has had its floor raised to be level with the rest of the school. This was accomplished through the use of massive styrofoam blocks and concrete, both made in a way so that structural integrity would be maintained. Additionally, the blocks were designed so plumbing and wiring could still move through the area. This then left a large empty room.

When asked about what went into the room, Eldridge said, “They created one large space and divided it in two, and in the middle is an office. Then there’s a spray booth, wood storage, and a fabrication area. And then a wet lab and an area where there are 3D printers and a laser cutter, and tech classrooms on both ends.” These areas have been upgraded with high-tech computers and other gadgets to help improve student education.

The Middle School also created a room for the morning show, which serves as their morning announcements. Eldridge also mentioned that administrators changed the schedules slightly to be similar to the High School’s, as a way to slowly get students used to that type of schedule. They have also renovated the halls for the students. The area that connected the Houses, once occupied by offices, has been replaced with a common area for students to hang out during free time, work on projects, or work in during a study hall. The room is equipped with tables, chairs, and phone chargers to make it more comfortable for the students.

Eldridge also stated he wants the students to have more authentic and project-based experiences, and that the new center of the building allows the students to have the ability to work in small groups. Further, because of the changes occurring in the school, teachers have to come up with new ways to teach. Eldridge mainly referenced the math department and their new Desmos teaching method, which focuses on having students find multiple ways to the solution, instead of just one specific way to solve problems.

While the current students explore the new changes to the school and the equipment, Eldridge says they are still experiencing some growing pains. However, he is optimistic that with time, and the eventual completion of the construction, teachers can help the students better learn and explore their interests.

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