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Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School

K-12 Education Middle School

Colonel Fred Cherry Middle School.

Suffolk, Virginia

This new 125,200 SF middle school is modeled after a previous RRMM design, Page Middle School in Gloucester, Virginia. The design includes an increased number of classrooms for each grade, as well as a larger auditorium and gym when compared to its predecessor. The school is organized into two main zones – public spaces located along the front of the building with three different grade houses located in the back. A main circulation space separates the two zones. In each grade house, classrooms are located on the second floor, overlooking the first-floor extended learning areas. Between each grade house is a secured courtyard that allows teachers to extend the classroom outdoors.

The benefit of designing a grade house system is that it lends to the school-within-a-school feeling. It creates a smaller group of students to interact with, thereby increasing students’ feelings of belonging and community. This is especially important in middle school, as incoming students must familiarize themselves with a much different school day schedule than they experienced in elementary school.