Storm Grove Middle School was designed using the school-within-a-school concept; each grade level is housed in a separate classroom building to create small learning communities. These elements are all organized around a central courtyard with two-story walkways connecting each academic building.
The school is designed to meet CAPACITY1,300COST PER SQ FT$220.00FEATURED IN2010 Architectural Portfolio gold criteria. Its many sustainable principles make this the greenest school in the Indian River County School District. The school utilizes the concept of these principles, in which certain aspects of the building are designed specifically to help teach students, including:
•Student-controlled classroom lighting.
•Visual indoor air quality controls.
•Solar-powered ice storage.
•Outdoor dining and classrooms.
•Exposed structural and mechanical systems.
•Stained concrete flooring.
The buildings are organized around an organic courtyard with a functioning analematic sundial in the center. A metaphorical St. Johns River (expressed through colored pavers) begins at the administration center, runs through the teaching spaces and courtyard, and culminates at the rainwater-harvesting irrigation pumps. The rainwater from the main administration building is collected through a large cistern displayed in the center of the courtyard. As the students move from their small-scale community, they learn from the walls, ground and ceiling above. Several locations throughout the courtyard were designed and are used for outdoor classrooms.
All occupied spaces have exposure to daylighting. The ceilings in the classroom spaces are sloped to help disperse the natural light. As a part of their curriculum, the students are encouraged to control the interior lighting to their own classrooms.
The district was so inspired by these principles and the new design that the school utilizes a green curriculum 100 percent of the time. The facility tests the idea of what today’s classroom is and what it can be. The students begin to look toward their environment as teaching tools, which helps prepare them for the world outside the school.