Volunteers needed for next phase of schools planning

The Mercer Island School District is in the final stages of selecting an architectural and engineering firm to develop the educational specifications for the new middle school and for the prototype elementary school, if the bond passes. The three elementary schools will share a common design to save cost, adapted for the individual site and individual requirements for instructional program support.

Middle school and elementary principals are selecting educators to participate on a team that will work with educational consultants and community representatives to develop the educational specifications for the new schools.

The educational specifications provide input to the architects and engineers and is a core guidance document expressing wishes and expectations for the new buildings. The district wishes to tap expertise in the community to assist in the development of the educational specifications.

Educational specifications require that a new school design employ the best solutions to deliver 21st century learning, like our 2020 vision. Topics to be considered by the various teams include but are not limited to: physical space planning, which promotes strong teacher/student relationships; community/volunteer engagement; flexible learning spaces; diversity of ideas, perspectives and experiences such as science labs, technology, the arts and playfields; and how best and emerging technologies should be defined and accommodated.

Further, the district is committed to employing environmental strategies that support learning by substantially increasing energy and water efficiency; materials performance; and utilization of low-impact construction methods that reduce the carbon footprint during the construction of the buildings. The district understands the enormous impact of buildings on the environment and is committed to designing new schools that touch the earth as lightly as possible for the next 50 years.

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