District Developing New Heard Elementary School | Community Spirit
Bibb County School District staff traveled to Atlanta last week to visit a model classroom at the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). The state opened the facility about a year ago to show school districts across the state where the classroom is headed in the 21st century. Chara Lee with the GaDOE conducted the tour. She said kids who have visited the space are drawn to the design features like cozy work spaces and technology 3-D learning.
“Barrow Elementary from Athens visited here with teachers and students and they loved it!" she said. "They told us they were happier in here and they loved the bright colors and sense of privacy and how easy it was to work in small groups.”
The visit is part of the Education Specification process for a new Heard Elementary. Following the tour the group also visited Springdale Park Elementary in Druid Hills, the first “green” public school in Atlanta. The school was recently named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School of Excellence in Environmental Impact, Health and Education. The District is interested in incorporating green features at the new Heard.
Brenda Stokes, the Director of Construction for the District, said the District is receiving help from the German architectural firm Behnisch. The firm is working with local architects as part of a research project on education environments at no cost to the District.
Mrs. Stokes said the District has also received input from Heard students on what they would like to see at their new school.
“The people from Behnisch visited a first grade classroom and gave kids a model of a three-sided room and things to put in it, their ideal space," she said. "The kids built collaborative spaces with lots of color.”
Mrs. Stokes said the District has also spoken with parents and grandparents who attended Heard as children. They would like to see the new design reflect the historic structure that already exists. Additional community meetings will be held over the next few months. The design, approval, permitting, and construction process will take 2-3 years.