Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s words, “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees,” Capps Middle School re-envisions a neighborhood park into a new, future-ready middle school. Putnam City Schools was tasked with accommodating a growing student population, as well as addressing an old, dilapidated building. PCS hired us to design a brand new, replacement middle school that will be the “catalyst for change in Putnam City Schools.” The building proper, influenced heavily by the site conditions, is located on the east and west side of a natural creek.
The west portion of the building caters to the administrative, elective, and athletic programs for the facility, while the east holds the learning communities for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Connecting the two ends is a 200-plus-SF Media Hub, bridging over the creek. Each learning center is planned around collaborative learning and teaching, with spaces to facilitate both student and teacher cross pollination. Teacher planning centers, learning labs, a large science CoLab, and small think tanks are just a few of the various spaces meant to cater to a collaborative curriculum. With an emphasis on nature, each learning center, is oriented with the bends of the creek, and are provided with ample views of the site. The interiors of the building draw inspiration from the site strata, and outdoor learning environments spill off the building in all directions to provide yet another learning environment variety.