Fir Grove/Vista is one of several schools that could be rebuilt if local voters approve a bond measure on Feb. 14, 2017.
To begin the planning process, the district held a symposium on Nov. 30 to gather ideas from staff members. Planning teams of staff members and architects then translated the key themes into the following concept designs.*
A welcoming lobby embraces students, staff members and visitors into a community school that takes a nurturing, holistic approach toward the academic, social and emotional success of students. Adjacent to the lobby, an enhanced Family-Community Resource Center offers services to families such as a food and clothing pantry; life-skills and parenting classes; and counseling in an attractive, welcoming setting.
In the school wings, dedicated classrooms are grouped according to age, with elementary students in one area and middle and high school students in another. Nearby each classroom are informal small group areas and spaces for one-on-one instruction. Each wing is inwardly focused around a courtyard, giving children opportunities to observe and experience nature. Each courtyard provides a variety of age-appropriate sensory elements in a safe setting.
Shared areas include a café, media center, specialized makerspace classrooms and a gym. The gym provides space for regular physical fitness activities such as basketball, as well as an adjacent space for sensory activities. The gym opens toward the rear of the site, providing access to the outdoors, including a play field.
The entrance provides a public face for the building, welcoming in families and the community. Adjacent to the entry lobby, an enhanced Family-Community Resource Center offers services such as counseling and life-skills and parenting classes. A large storefront allows Fir Grove to provide a retail setting for food and clothing, as well as the opportunity to sell items such as vegetables grown in the school garden.
The school wing is arranged in clusters of age-based classrooms. In each cluster are four classrooms, shared teacher offices and an ample collaboration space. All the classroom clusters are placed around a large courtyard area with distinct spaces for active play and quiet contemplation. At the far end of the courtyard lies the airy, open commons, which can be used as the school café and for other activities. The commons has direct access to both the courtyard and an exterior patio, providing natural light and views of nature.
Other shared areas include a media center, maker/collaboration space and student reward center. At the north end of the building is a full-size gym with adjacent sensory fitness rooms and access to a play field.
The planning team presented their ideas to the school’s staff and the community to gather additional feedback.
Next, an extensive review and planning will assess feasibility and affordability and hone the concepts into more detailed plans.
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*Concept designs and illustrations are artistic conceptual drawings only. They do not reflect final school design plans.
In March 2015, the district conducted an informal online survey about district facilities needs. More than 1,500 respondents—parents, students, staff members and the community—told VPS how its buildings and properties could be improved and suggested schools that should be rebuilt. Ongoing symposia and staff, parent and community presentations are providing input on school designs. This input helps district leaders assess facilities needs and plan for the future.
Many VPS schools are slated to be rebuilt or significantly renovated. Every other VPS school will receive upgrades.
Proposed funding for the work is a bond measure that will be on the ballot in February 2017.
The community last approved a VPS bond measure in 2001. That bond helped replace or build Eisenhower, Franklin, Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, Sarah J. Anderson and Washington elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson Middle School.