Crews Break Ground on Revolutionary Educational Space


Construction on the new Miller Middle School was projected to cost $45 million when voters passed the bond issue in 2020. A total of $90 million was part of the bond, which included the career/resource center. Miller Middle School will be built to foster the district's goal of preparing students for life after school. By Connor Shreve This story is sponsored by 2180 Lighting & Design Studio and The Law Firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley

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The New Miller Middle School is a step closer to opening after a groundbreaking ceremony kicked off the construction phase last Thursday. This edition of the Local News Network is brought to you by 2180 Lighting & Design, and the law firm of Downs, McDonough, Cowan & Foley, I'm Connor Shreve. Construction on the next Miller Middle School in Durango is now officially underway. When the school opens in the fall of 2024, it will mark a major change in how local educational spaces foster modern learning.

This is specifically focused on state-of-the-art instruction. We've taken the best of the best of middle schools across the country, and that's all going to be seen here at Miller Middle School.

Durango's School District Superintendent, Dr. Karen Cheser says, "The design includes areas and interfaces geared towards robotics, automation, and coding, serving today's student better.

So, school maybe in the sixties, in the seventies, I know when, you know, I was growing up, was very isolated so you might have a teacher with a group of students and they pretty much stayed in that classroom, didn't really work together. Now, we know that the best type of work is when teachers can collaborate, when students can collaborate. Also, when we don't just teach one subject in one classroom.

The final design is the result of taking some of the most effective features from the nation's best schools. The new school will be built on the same plot of land where the school currently sits, on a smaller footprint, but with the ability to serve more students. Cunningham Architecture Group, Project Manager, Jackie Squires, wanted to make the most of the space they had.

And we really took that idea of the neighborhood, so it's four classrooms centered around a commons, and that's right now is grade level based, right? So that might be a sixth grade or a portion of a sixth grade. And then as you move on to seventh grade, you're somewhere else. So I think part of that too is also giving students some ownership of a space within the larger community.

Dr. Cheser says, "The results will be a school that helps foster the district's goal to better prepare students for life after school."

When we can look at real-world projects and real-world authentic problems, and think about how does social studies align with that? How does language, arts, and math, and science apply? And so this school will really focus on how can we collaborate and integrate amongst all of those different subject areas, so that we have the highest level of learning, real-world authentic learning?

The current Miller Middle School was built in 1961, and Squires did want to do it justice while also appreciating the community's passion for the new project's mission, which includes community, sustainability, and flexible design philosophies.

The project-based learning and creating space outside the four classrooms of your wall that you can explore, and do, and creating some of those informal spaces throughout. You know, that coffee shop-style that students, some students are drawn to versus the formal educational space.

The build is being funded by a $90 million bond passed by voters in 2020. While most of the construction is new, there will be a portion of the current school that will remain. The timeline has been designed to ensure students will not be placed in mobile classrooms during the transition. Thanks for watching the Local News Network, I'm Connor Shreve.


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