Middle School

The development of fresh design solutions that renew a community asset is the result of envisioning the possibilities to renew a school. VEBH has a predilection for applying fiscally responsible solutions for public projects while seeking great educational design.

The Blackhawk School District’s Highland Middle School project renewed a school building that has served the Beaver Valley communities for more than half a century. The school was rebuilt and expanded to accommodate six and seventh grade programs, and to relocate the eighth grade program to the building.

Highland Middle School was recognized by A4LE (The Association for Learning Environments, formerly CEFPI) as a 2014 Project of Distinction manner in which the design was infused with sustainable features.  A4LE called Highland Middle School “an excellent example of a school as a learning tool.”  Click here to learn more.

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Each of the three grade level core classroom neighborhoods is designed around a curriculum-based theme: ‘6th Grade Explorers’, ‘7th Grade Inventors’, and ‘8th Grade Pioneers’, and specific colors and patterns derived from the theme define each area.  ‘Houses’ within each neighborhood facilitate the building’s team-teaching efforts.  The integrated technology tools for teaching are included in each classroom and ‘flex’ rooms are distributed throughout the building to provide individual and small group special teaching opportunities. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) components are integrated around the entire building in addition to each classroom to support spontaneous and planned lessons that stimulate a student’s curiosity and desire to learn.

The Highland Middle School design includes a flexible Large Group Instruction auditorium with retractable seating to permit a variety of instructional programs, uses and performances. The school’s new media center has direct access to an outdoor classroom in the central courtyard learning area. This area incorporates a biosphere with wetlands and Pennsylvania native species plantings.