Keith Valley Middle School
What to do with the existing Keith Valley Middle School (KVMS) has been a decades long debate in the Hatboro-Horsham School District. A comprehensive evaluation of the condition of the facility’s infrastructure and systems, which is not air conditioned, and the limited accessibility to accommodate all students, specifically those with mobility challenges, determined that building new versus renovations and additions would best serve the students of the District. The District partnered with educational leaders to develop the portrait of the Keith Valley learner – motivated, empathetic, appreciative, and a critical thinker serving the community and humanity. To translate these aspirations for a built facility, several design imperatives were identified that emphasized flexibility and connectivity within the school and community, choice, movement, and a hands-on and multi-model learning to inspire students everyday to be the best that they can be.
The process entailed the development of a program that reflected the curriculum and learning styles of a middle school student. Developing a vocabulary of spaces through visioning sessions and on-site school visits offered several relative examples of next generation middle schools. In the context of a larger school, the KVMS design features three floors of small learning communities for grades 6-8 with flexible learning spaces, small group instruction areas, and larger community spaces at the core for student gathering and project-based instruction. These small learning communities open to a central learning resource area that connects the educational areas to the shared public areas. The school design will also include the District administration offices to replace the aging building (also on-site) and the district pool.
The location of the new facility on the existing middle school site will allow the construction of the new school without disrupting the educational program of the occupied existing building. Two main access points to the school, that will also serve to separate the parent and bus drop off locations, are directly adjacent to the physical education and performing arts programs adjacent to main parking areas. Once the new school is complete, the existing school and administration building will be demolished, and the site restored for additional athletic fields.