The new 107,000 square foot middle school constructed on Kent Island on the western end of Queen Anne’s County, serves as the gateway to Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore. The school’s feature entry design is based on the nautical symbolism of a ship’s hull. The building uses a geothermal heat-pump technology as its heating and cooling system. The capacity of the new middle school is 800 students in grades 6 to 8. Initially, up to 500 middle school students are proposed in grades 6 to 8 with 300 ninth-grade students in a separate academy on the second floor.
A clear circulation system (keel of a boat) easily understood by students, parents, community and visitors is the main design feature of the project. It serves as the lobby for the main public-use spaces (physical-education suite with stage, cafeteria and music suite) and provides the link between the public spaces and the educational areas. The administration area is situated centrally at the main entrance to oversee the access of all students, parents and visitors to the school and main corridor.
Architectural features include exposed painted structural steel, complex rubber flooring at the corridors which had a critical humidity requirement that mandated heating the school even in July to reach the required percentage of humidity for proper installation, extensive glass and specialty lighting. Site work for the project was made more complex due to the proximity of this project to the adjacent occupied elementary school which shares the site.