Hallie Wells Middle School
- Montgomery County Public Schools
- 154,400 sf
- New construction
- Four gymnasiums including specialized cross training facilities
- Reconfigured prototype
- LEED Gold Certified
- Masonry Craftmanship Excellence Award, 2019
Reimagining a Classic
The most recent in a long line of Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) successful prototypes, Hallie Wells is the culmination of 20 years of design refinement and collaboration with MCPS. Named for a generous local benefactor, it’s traditional brick and mortar façade features a classic country schoolhouse steeple, recalling Clarksburg’s agrarian past, imitating its older structures, and incorporating the traditional aesthetic of the surrounding community. Inside however, Hallie Wells has been reorganized to maximize transparency and implement MCPS’ team-based teaching philosophy to better suit evolving best practices in Middle School education.
Hallie Wells’ multi-story floorplan is a staple of the MCPS approach to Middle School programming, maximizing construction value while enhancing the MCPS educators approach to middle school educational philosophy. The three-story design facilitates team teaching that clusters grade levels by floor allowing the educators to create developmentally appropriate, grade specific content—granting identity and comfort to the unique 6th, 7th, and 8th grade curricula. Distinct, energetic color palettes demarcate floors, helping students easily identify with their grade. The configuration allows smaller teams of teachers to manage smaller groups of students, and eases student transition into the classroom switching paradigm by reducing hallway time with looped circulation while increasing the visibility of student movement. Entire floors are easily observed from centrally located Faculty Team areas—glass enclosed suites that include a break room, conference room, and lounge area.
Hallie Wells reorientation adds about 4,000 sf to the building envelope of the prototype design, but yields an additional 5,500 sf of programmable space—without sacrificing teaching or circulation space. Glass has been maximized, creating lighter, brighter interiors more easily observed, increasing visibility without compromising student health and safety.
By optimizing orientation, and squeezing some spaces while opening others Hallie Wells has reinvented itself to suit MCPS’ changing philosophies, evolving as its users’ needs evolve, all while remaining true to the design that has served them for two decades.