Spectrum Design Architecs | Engineers

Cave Spring Middle School

Originally built in 1956 as Cave Spring’s high school, Cave Spring Middle School is an important part of the surrounding community’s history. Spectrum Design wanted to preserve and highlight parts of the existing building while providing a new state-of-the-art learning facility for Cave Spring’s growing student population.

The design team was faced with a unique challenge due to the long linear site bounded by Brambleton Avenue, a busy 4-lane roadway, on the west and an existing football field on the east. Spectrum Design responded to this challenge in two ways: reorienting the building’s “front” side away from Brambleton Avenue and utilizing vertical space rather than horizontal land.

One of the design priorities was to alleviate vehicular traffic congestion and confusion by relocating the main entry to the east side of the building facing the existing football field. This move allowed for an organized and controlled entry system for buses, parents and visitors with each having their own designated traffic routes and drop-off / pick-up points. The new main entry features a large canopy and generous landscaping, welcoming visitors to the building. The space between the building and the football field was transformed into a wide, pedestrian-friendly plaza for students, visitors, and spectators. Buses enter the site through a separate entrance and drop off students on the west side of the building directly into the classroom wing for distribution to their respective grade levels.

The new 132,000 square foot school consists of 105,000 square feet of new construction and 27,000 square feet of renovated spaces. The design team decided it was in the school’s best interest to retain and renovate the existing high school sized auditorium and main gym. The existing cafeteria located below the main gym was converted into the new administration area. The building features a new cafeteria and kitchen, a new media center, a new auxiliary gym, and a new classroom wing. Additionally, a multitude of elective and support spaces were included to support and develop diverse educational needs.

The design team determined that in order to accommodate 900 students the classroom wing would need to go up – not out. The result is a new 3-story classroom wing located on the south side of the site. Grade levels are separated by floor into grade level “neighborhoods.” The 7th grade is on the first floor, the 6th grade is on the second floor, and the 8th eighth grade is on the third floor. Seventh grade is located on the first floor to allow for easy access from the life science classrooms to the greenhouse and outdoor classroom. Each neighborhood has 8 classrooms, resource spaces, a computer lab, a teacher workroom with storage, a conference room, and break-out / common spaces.

Committed to energy-saving practices, Spectrum Design incorporated many environmentally-conscious design elements including a geothermal HVAC system, high-efficiency windows with integral sunshades, and daylighting strategies.