Oregon City School District

New Gardiner Middle School

When Oregon City School District set out to reimagine the middle school experience, they didn’t immediately approach it through the design of space and place. Instead, they established what a middle school should feel like before they ever considered what it should look like. The resulting project-based, student-centered curriculum fosters holistic solutions around education and wellness. Similarly, the new Gardiner Middle School captures the District’s collaborative spirit and reinforces the learning objectives that will guide them into a new era of teaching and learning.

Completion Date
Fall 2021
Oregon City, OR
Square Footage
150,000 SF
  • Karina Ruiz
  • David Johnson
  • Matt Jacoby
  • Timothy Ruppel
  • Alesha Hase
  • Kenneth Breaux
  • Nancy Rad
  • Jay Fesler
  • Abel Mekanik
  • Susan Wurdeman
  • William Hallgren

Oregon City School District grounded the Gardiner Middle School design process in meaningful student engagement.

Current middle schoolers worked alongside their teachers and District leaders to explore innovative design solutions that reflected earnest research and responded to their experiences as students. As the design committee’s 12 middle schoolers were continually met with respect from architects, educators, and principals, they experienced a sense of

empowerment that propelled them through each stage of design. While a majority of these students will have begun high school when Gardiner opens in 2021, their dedication to the design process is a testament to their commitment to shaping learning environments for the students that follow them.

The school’s design responds to the full spectrum of emotions that students experience as they transition to middle school – from excitement to apprehension. Timber Hall – the school’s comprehensive cafeteria, performance space, student gathering area, and extended education space – will allow budding young adults to embrace a sense of agency as they navigate the diverse space and utilize the areas that suit their needs.

In order to alleviate the stress students experience in response to aggressive passing periods and multiple locker combinations, the design team developed Learning Neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are grade-specific and feature core subject classrooms arranged around a collaborative common area. Each Learning Neighborhood will also include centralized storage solutions to replace traditional lockers. Along with mobile furniture solutions, the Learning Neighborhoods will promote community through proximity and transparency.

BRIC office in Portland, OR

Listening is one of the most important elements of our process – we can’t wait to hear from you!