McNair Middle School

Ronald E. McNair Middle School’s design by CDH Partners prioritizes a Future Ready environment in Decatur, integrating adaptable spaces and innovative features to foster collaboration.

  • area / size 185,000 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • As the first Future Ready school in the DeKalb County School District, Ronald E. McNair Middle School will provide a unique experience for the community’s students. The new prototype integrates spaces for 21st-century learning, in which innovation and collaboration pervade the educational environment.

    The media center serves as the heart and hub of the school. It promotes the use of space as an integral part of a student’s daily education through features like smaller production labs with readily accessible technology. Glass garage-style doors open onto the main circulation area to encourage a more fluid, collaborative style of teamwork.

    In the main circulation area, a sloping ceiling guides the eye to an expansive view of the courtyard. The entire facility integrates shared spaces that the school can rearrange for various purposes, adding versatility by extending the classroom beyond four walls.

    Design is paramount to achieving a Future Ready environment, and McNair’s new learning space promotes the school district’s goals of flexibility and innovation. The space will help them implement personalized digital learning strategies and prepare each and every student for success. The project leverages neuroscience to create tools for learning beyond the integration of technology and uses the psychological, social, cultural, and environmental factors of how we, as humans, learn. The design creates effective teaching and learning environments as extensions of the classroom. The result is a school that fosters a culture of collaboration and integrity of thought between students and teachers. Students are empowered by their environment to create places for learning and to share ideas, but also to hear those of their peers.

    Design: CDH Partners
    Photography: Jim Roof