The design for a new middle school in Hanover has “dramatically changed,” said Bruce Gist, director of school construction for the Howard County Public School System.
"The exterior presentation has dramatically changed compared to...current middle schools," said Gist at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, where he presented the new design plans for the school, scheduled to open in fall 2014.
Some of the changes were influenced by the developer of Oxford Square, said Gist.
"We have a partner in this development," said Gist.
David Scheffenacker, the developer of Oxford Square, donated the school site to the Howard County Public School System in 2010, along with $4 million toward construction if it is built by 2014.
"We worked extensively with them because they were so cooperative and generous and gracious in working this land transaction with us," said Gist. "We felt obligated to accommodate the architectural aesthetics of the neighborhood as they requested, to a degree."
Scheffenacker is planning a community called Oxford Square that will include residential and office buildings, as well as the school. The Oxford Square community will have a "traditional aesthetic," according to plans submitted to the school board.
The middle school in Oxford Square will have exterior features that Robyn Toth, an architect working on the project, called "more traditional" and "residential," in an effort to "answer to the development nearby."
Toth outlined these deviations from Howard County's prototypical middle school design:
- Smaller bricks and "more detailing"
- Smaller windows. "The classroom windows are smaller, more residential looking and they have arched windows on top," said Toth.
- Sloped roof with recast metal. "The developer was very interested in what their residents were going to be able to see from their buildings," said Toth.
Residential development will commence at the Oxford Square community in late 2012, according to plans submitted to the school board.
Gist said he would submit construction documents for the middle school in November and solicit bids for the project in January 2013 for a fall 2014 opening date.