Friendly Hills Middle School

Mendota Heights, Minnesota

Utilizing the house concept, there are six houses of 150 students each. Located within each house are four classrooms (two of which are open to each other), a special education classroom (to truly mainstream students), and a breakout area with windows to the classrooms, broken spatially to provide smaller and more intimate areas for learning, reading alone by a window, ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY800COST PER SQ FT$92.00CITATIONMiddle School Citation, Bronze CitationFEATURED IN1998 Architectural Portfolio1998 Educational Interiors cooperative learning within one of the conference rooms.

Unique uses of space are found in the teacher work-room/office area. Mobile storage expands space, for six teachers per workroom to develop curriculum. The media center also takes on a new role. It is visible on both the first and second level, and allows for research skills to be taught within its confines.

This school begins with grade five, rather than six, and continues through eight, which alleviates crowding in elementary schools.

Accessibility and flexibility are key elements in the design of the zoning of the building. This educational facility was planned around community use, with four main zones-athletics, performing arts, houses and the media center-to provide secure and convenient access throughout the day and evening.

Performances are found in the cafetorium. The stage can become a classroom, the cafeteria used for extended day care at day’s end, and even the tables turn into seating.

The building site is located near a hill, amongst a beautiful wooded area and pond, far enough away from the residential area to allow for environmental and recreation areas to act as a transition into the surrounding neighborhood.

Photographer: ©Ralph Berlowitz

"Flexible and adaptable design; good use of durable materials."—1998 Interiors jury

"Great project planning and presentation."—1998 Architectural Portfolio jury