Giant Post-it notes covered the walls of Belgrade High School’s library after a planning workshop Monday detailing the numerous ways the school can grow both physically and academically. Guests at the meeting discussed the conceptual future of the high school to assist the design process for the anticipated expansion project.
Belgrade High School Principal Paul Lamb called the meeting “constructive.” A group of about 20 school officials, teachers, and community members worked together to hash out a variety of areas such as the role of technology, grade grouping, and the future of career and technical education. Officials from CTA Architects Engineers facilitated the workshop. “This meeting today helped us solidify what direction we should be going in,” Lamb said.
CTA architect Kurt Ratz said one of the main concerns that came out of the group was flexibility and planning for growth in a “progressive way.” No one wants to get stuck in a building that doesn’t work in a few years, he said. “This meeting wasn’t necessarily about where the windows and doors will be,” Ratz said. “We focused more on three big things — what works, what could be better and what’s missing. What we’re trying to do is wrap the building around the teaching, the education, what we want those to look like in the future.”
Belgrade Schools Superintendent Leland Stocker said starting over with a brand new second high school is “not an option” at this point. After hearing what the group had to say, Ratz added it seems like most people want to keep the current footprint of the school and build off what is already there.
Belgrade School Board Trustee Ted Mongeon said the meeting was helpful in “facilitating” a necessary conversation about the future of the school. He said he thinks it will allow school officials to move ahead and make more informed decisions about a physical school design. “We’re not quite down in the weeds of talking about what to put where in the building, but it was definitely helpful in formulating an opinion of what’s right and wrong,” Mongeon said.