SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
On Jan. 30, Salisbury Township School District hosted a community visioning session with two representatives from Fielding International educational architecture design firm.
Nathan Strenge, senior education consultant and Cierra Mantz, senior designer presented to those in attendance at the event, held in the Salisbury High School library.
Dr. Randy Ziegenfuss, superintendent of schools, welcomed attendees to the gathering. He prefaced the presentation by discussing the profile of a graduate developed in 2016 by working with students, staff and community leaders to imagine what the ideal graduate of the future would look like. He said now four to five years into implementing plans and strategies to meet the goals outlined in that project, it is apparent the district faces obstacles to achieving these objectives due to limited or outdated physical space in district buildings.
Ziegenfuss said to achieve the full vision of the student who is confident, collaborative and ready for the future, it became clear new and different facilities would be required. Salisbury selected Fielding International to helm this project due to its niche ability to blend architecture and educational needs with a large focus on community. The award-winning firm has done work in 50 countries on six continents in its almost 50-year history.
The Salisbury Township School Board approved moving forward with Fielding International last month and allowed this phase of the project to commence.
Currently, Strenge and Mantz are working on the community engagement phase, where they will take a great deal of time to meet with and learn from various stakeholders in the community to find solutions to problems or to achieve goals through building design.
In attendance, there was a mix of staff members, administrators and parents of students within the district.
The presenters engaged the group with different collaborative questions such as: what type of experiences do you wish district students could have in school and what types of changes have you seen in your own life in the past 10 years. They also prompted the group to come up with statements relating to the project that started with “I like,” “I wish” and “I wonder.”
Strenge provided facts about adults of the future, mentioning the average graduate today will have 17 jobs in five different industries; by 2030, 65 percent of the jobs will be in areas that do not exist yet.
Part of the presentation included a case study video on the award-winning Fisher STEAM school in Greenville, S.C., designed by Fielding International. The video highlighted features such as natural light, flexible spaces, communal areas to connect the school as well as indoor-outdoor connections for students and staff.
The session helped those in attendance understand a bit more deeply about moving from desired outcomes to the “how” of this process.
While still early in this phase of the project, Strenge and Mantz will take what they have learned from those they have engaged with in schools and the community and create a report that will be shared via multiple communication channels within the next several months.