Mexican school design is intended as a welcoming learning environment
RUMFORD — The vision for a new school for elementary and junior high students in Rumford and Mexico will be a “welcoming and collaborative learning environment,” according to the final design statement.
The statement was shared Wednesday evening during a Zoom meeting between Auburn Architects Harriman and the School Building Committee for Regional School Unit 10. Based on ideas proposed at a community forum last week , the statement describes design as a place “where we plant the seeds and nurture the roots for a strong future.”
Architects Lisa Sawin, Mark Lee and Emilie Waugh led the committee on Wednesday in a discussion of building plans.
The district offers a school for K-8 students on the site of Meroby and Mountain Valley Middle Elementary Schools in Mexico. It would house students from Rumford and Mexico elementary schools and middle school.
Superintendent Deb Alden said last week that the Maine Department of Education would review the site’s application for approval, “probably in July.”
Sawin said some of the ideas presented at a workshop last month as guiding principles for the design were:
• Adequate storage space.
• Development-friendly facilities.
• Non-insulated special education rooms.
• Natural light.
• Spaces for non-sporting extracurricular activities.
• Indoor and outdoor spaces for the performing arts.
• Adequate meeting space, especially for private special education meetings.
Other ideas, including from a community survey, listed the importance of supporting social and emotional learning, curricula and space for science, technology, engineering and math, arts, community access, a small school model and a connection to nature.
The four main priorities for the building are, in order: a safe and welcoming entrance; natural light and views of nature; space for hands-on learning; and centers for student gatherings.
The Harriman team showed videos of interiors and exteriors of new schools in Holbrook, Massachusetts, and Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The school building committee also reviewed layouts for Paris Elementary School for K-6 and a Farmington School for K-2 which features a circular courtyard entrance.
The municipal budget of the canton is lower but the school contribution is higher