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W-JCC School Board gets closer look at new middle school

JAMES CITY- The Williamsburg James-City County School Board got an update on the design of the new middle school that will be built at the current site of the James Blair administrative offices.

Michael Hall, a school design specialist with Fanning Howey, showed the board conceptual pictures of the new school. The design is inspired by the principles of 21st-century education, which emphasizes student collaboration, project-based learning and integrated technology.

Hall showed the basic “neighborhood,” which will house six classrooms surrounding a 2,950 square-foot collaboration space. The collaboration space is filled with movable furniture, tables where students can work on group projects and couches.

Hall emphasized the flexibility of the new space, pointing out the mobility of most of the furniture and walls that can move to adjust classroom size. The classrooms have glass walls opening to the collaboration space.     

The design documents are 95 percent complete at this point, according to the construction schedule. On June 15 the drawings will undergo inspections for about a month, and the construction project will be open for bids on July 1. The bid process will last a month, and the board will select a contractor at its August 16 meeting.  Construction is slated to begin on the school in September of this year and continue through June of 2018.

Hall said the district created strict criteria for construction firms interested in bidding on the project, and seven firms have been preapproved to bid on the project.

Hall said the firm had discussed how “Williamsburgy” the school needed to look. He said the final design does have a “wink and a nod” toward the Colonial image, but that the school will also have its own distinct look.

Read more about the 4th middle school design in Saturday’s Virginia Gazette.

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