Prairie Winds Middle School
Prairie Winds Middle School began housing 904 sixth through eighth grade students in the fall of 2016. The school will have a capacity for 1,200 students, and will play a key role in the development of the east side of Mankato. Construction is on a green site and includes multiple HVAC systems. The facility will consist of a brick veneer exterior and interior. The school will also feature a gymnasium used by students and the community. The project will help accommodate student growth and help continue to provide facilities and learning environments for students. The district projects a two percent growth in student population from 2014-2019.
For The Students
Prairie Winds Middle School was housing over 900 sixth through eighth grade students since its opening in the fall of 2016. The new 183,000 square foot school has a capacity for 1,200 students, and plays a key role in the development of the east side of Mankato. Construction was on a green site and included multiple HVAC systems. The facility features flexible learning spaces, four educational wings, technology suite, music suite, and a large gymnasium able to divide into three sections. The school also has a “learning center”, a non-traditional library with minimal books and lots of collaborative working space. The facility consists of a brick veneer exterior and interior.
Athletics and Education
The school also features a gymnasium for students and the community. The gymnasium can be divided into three sections, perfect for hosting tournaments and large community events, two health science classrooms and a main commons area, all of which will are available for community use on nights and weekends. The school’s layout includes four educational “wings” – one for each grade level and one for elective and special education classes. Each wing includes flexible technology laboratory space and common areas creating an open and collaborative learning environment, perfect for group study sessions.
Something For Everyone
Several classrooms feature large sliding doors enabling classroom space to be combined with common areas for flexibility, creating a teamwork environment. The elective class wing features a student display area and provides space for small group performances and other gatherings. In the music suite, band, orchestra and choir each have their own room. The technology suite includes a fabrication laboratory (FAB Lab) equipped with an array of flexible computer-controlled tools that cover several different length scales and various materials, with the aim to enable students to make “almost anything”.
Creativity in Design
The Prairie Winds Middle School project is a showstopper when it comes to masonry design. Throughout the facility, different styles of brick and stonework are featured, with the cornerstones of the project being radiused benches, trophy case, and a feature wall located in the commons area. The team utilized local stone materials and multiple brick colors to highlight other building features throughout the facility such as the metal panels and precast wall panels.
Another feature of the school is the use of natural light though out the facility. Utilizing skylights, removable/flexible classroom walls, glass walls, and expansive windows throughout, daylight has been brought into the general commons areas, flexible learning spaces, and tech spaces offering a wide variety of benefits including improved focus and better student health. The building is also on a daylight harvesting system, allowing light levels to be driven by the amount of natural light that is present, not only using the natural light as a resource, but offers a significant cost-savings.