St. Johns Middle School

St. Johns, Michigan

  • FIRM

    Fanning Howey


    St. Johns Public Schools

  • AREA

    34,600 sq.ft.





The education program vision was to develop a true middle-school team concept that is enhanced by the building design. Each team would include science, mathematics, social studies, language arts and other curriculum classes. Consideration also was given to maintaining science in a departmental configuration to take advantage of sharing equipment, planning spaces, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY778COST PER SQ FT$124.82FEATURED IN1999 Architectural Portfolio and plumbing efficiencies.

The design solution for this included locating the science labs in the center of the academic area around the media center with the relating general classroom spaces located directly across the hall from each of the science rooms.

Another unusual problem was providing natural light into the media center and the science rooms. The design solution included allowing daylight into the media center through a translucent skylight. Each science room projects into the media center and is separated with a sloping glass greenhouse element, under which lab tables are positioned.

St. Johns Public Schools desired an extremely flexible public space without paying the high cost of separate areas for a cafeteria, an auditorium and a lobby/commons. The design response to the program requirements resulted in the development of a multiuse space, termed auditeria. The new space serves as a social area, cafeteria, performing-arts area, commons lobby and large-group instruction area.

The arrangement of the science rooms places them in proximity to each other, allowing them to easily interact and share equipment. At the same time, they are strategically located to act as integral units with the general classrooms in the team and neighborhood structure. The configuration of science spaces grouped around the media center takes advantage of the economics of developing most of the plumbing and utilities into a compact area. The skylight over the heart of the academic area and science rooms showers the media center with natural light.

A multitiered flooring system in the auditeria allows the use of tables and chairs for dining and for student studying and testing. The tiers provide room to accommodate four rows of chairs per tier for performances.

A working stage with performance curtain, theatrical lighting, sound system and control booth with performing-arts production sound and lighting panels was provided. Special lighting was incorporated along the perimeter for visual effects.

Radivsea brick columns were utilized in the form of radius columns to create a formal appearance. To make elevation changes obvious, each tier step is defined by a carpet color change.

Educational technology was incorporated in the control booth and stage. The space includes the same voice/video-retrieval system and monitors that are located throughout the building.

Photographer: ©Emery Photography