Vel Phillips Middle School

The new middle school marks the initial stride in the district's consolidation endeavors, creating a unified facility for students.

Need: Support the district’s consolidation goals.

Solution: Design a new middle school that joins together students from Merrill and Webster Stanley Middle schools and their communities.

Result: A unified, modern facility that incorporates design elements from the previous two middle schools.

Spotlights of the School

The focal point of the middle school revolves around the atrium (cafeteria/commons), which provides visibility to the technology, engineering, art, and family & consumer science learning spaces to inspire students and showcase real world learning. Additional spotlights:

Maker space room with branded wall and glass doors that slide open to the production area
Events lobby at Vel Phillips Middle School featuring the reclaimed wood wall with monitors and flexible furniture.

Honoring the legacies

Uniting Legacy and Innovation

The old Merrill and Webster Stanley Middle Schools still live on at the new Vel Phillips Middle School. Design elements incorporated into the facility followed a theme of unity to symbolize the old schools and represent the new.

The exterior building design is modern yet timeless, nodding to the historical context of the neighborhood and nearby downtown through the architectural style and brick and stone material used. Interior elements are overlapping, stitching, and interweaving — symbolic of unifying communities. Hardwood floors from the previous schools were reclaimed and intertwined amongst others, while reclaimed bleacher boards were used in the events lobby as built-in benches.

Learning stairs at Vel Phillips Middle School in the commons/cafeteria area. Clerestory windows bring in natural light.
Commons/Cafeteria stage with monitors and students eating lunch at Vel Phillips Middle School
Library at Vel Phillips Middle School looking out the floor to ceiling windows over the entrance of the building.
Production studio at Vel Phillips Middle School with reclaimed wood wall and glass sliding doors on the right side of the photo with branding that opens to the makerspace room. On the left side of the photo is an island to work/study at.
3D art room with students working at Vel Phillips Middle School
Foods and consumer science lab with students cooking at the stations at Vel Phillips Middle School
Events lobby with branding walls and students sitting and walking

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to work

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