Students design “dream school” before bond vote

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Early voting for the proposed Rapid City school bond comes to a close on Monday with formal voting the following day. If the measure passes, Rapid City Area Schools will use the $189 million bond to make district-wide facility improvements.

Ahead of the vote, some area students had the chance to imagine what their dream school might look like.

South Middle School seventh grade students have spent the last five weeks creating blueprints and models of a remodeled middle school. It was an interdisciplinary project-based learning assignment titled: Building a New South, and combined geography, math, science, and English classes. The Vote Yes Rapid City campaign asked students to envision what their dream school would look like if the bond passed.

The school holds grades six through eight, and inadequate spacing forces students to utilizes outdoor annexes, which students feel are unsafe in cases of emergencies and outside threats.

“We added some more things and made things bigger and just more updated because that’s what we need, is a more updated school,” said student Moira Grant. “So we have all of that, and then we just added a few extra rooms that we felt like we needed because we’re always running into problems with needing to have those things.”

Students learned about the different aspects of creating blueprints, such as making them to scale, location, placement, movement, and sustainability. From rooftop greenhouses to solar panels and better accessibility, students had many ideas on how the school could be improved and hope the school system will take notice.

“A couple different groups that did greenhouses and so I think like a rooftop greenhouse or a way to build sustainability into a new school would be ideal,” said Andrew Ley, geography teacher at South Middle School.

The purpose of this showcase was to include kids and ask their opinions about what they think a new school design should look like. Organizers hope administrators and people that are in charge of the design process really take some of these suggestions to heart, because the school’s for kids and kids should be the ones designing it.

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