Spaces that reflect scholars’ potential and lift up Lancer PRIDE
La Follette High School, located on Madison’s southeast side, was built in 1962 and received minor additions in 1965, 1969, and 2003. In every classroom, you’ll find students who embody the tenets of Lancer PRIDE – personal responsibility, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence.
Students are eager to help lead La Follette into a future that includes bright, spacious areas that support multiple learning styles, collaboration, and a positive school climate. They are ready to explore Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) in twenty-first century labs and makerspaces.
In spring 2019, students and staff were excited to help identify some potential renovation ideas. Through conversations with them, in addition to site visits and a review of the building’s age and condition, we have identified what we believe are the priorities at La Follette that could be taken on with a 2020 capital referendum.
Our focus would be on major reinvestments in classroom spaces and creating additional state-of-the-art labs and STEAM space. Instructional spaces would be upgraded to allow for flexible arrangements that support multiple learning styles. This could include connections between classrooms and breakout spaces along hallways to encourage impromptu collaborative moments during passing periods or over lunch.
Another key recommendation is to creatively redesign the open-air area underneath the existing second-floor Library Media Center known as “The Pit,” which currently has accessibility and supervision challenges. We would transform “The Pit” into a well-lit instructional space aligned with experiential and career learning.
The current draft proposal also includes a solution to alleviate hallway congestion by expanding the main corridor of the building, the C-Wing, to accommodate an entire student body of 1600 students converging during passing time.
Pertaining to building entrance and security, we would add on to the current Welcome Center to make the main entrance more welcoming, accessible, and secure.
We would also move our currently decentralized Student Services offices to one location near the commons area. This would allow students to more easily access services (special education, mental health, occupational therapy, to name a few) and would help staff work more collaboratively to support students.
All of this work would be aligned to our commitment to environmental sustainability. **Spring 2020 update: A persistent theme in the community input that the school board heard throughout fall 2020 was a strong desire for additional investments in environmental sustainability projects at our four main high schools with a return on investment. (View a February 25, 2020 meeting at La Follette on the potential sustainability projects.)**
- Renovate existing classrooms to accommodate larger classrooms and collaboration space.
- Redesign the existing area known as “The Pit” to create additional classrooms.
- Significantly upgrade existing STEAM lab and technical education spaces and create more STEAM spaces by renovating the existing gym.
- Renovate the existing auditorium, build an addition for more band and orchestra rooms, and add a new fine arts entrance.
- Centralize Student Services offices near the current commons area so staff can collaboratively support students.
- Create a new Welcome Center with a building addition.
- With funding set aside for environmental sustainability projects, install a 100 kilowatt solar array in addition to new windows, LED lighting, and other energy-efficient measures in alignment with MMSD’s commitment to renewable energy.
- Expand corridors, courtyards, and other common areas to address congestion and create a more serene and positive school climate.
Climate and Culture
Items in the report on the facility’s condition that were graded as a B or lower would be addressed. When students feel comfortable, healthy, and supported by their environment, they engage more in school in a positive way. These include:
- Mechanical system overhaul: A new, sustainable-energy geothermal heating system and whole-school air conditioning would provide students with a comfortable and climate-controlled environment in which to learn.
- Electrical system overhaul, with service upgrades to the building and generator system.
- Spacious, renovated restrooms would support student health, hygiene, privacy, and comfort.
Community and Athletic Spaces
- Upgrade facilities used by the community for meetings, gatherings, adult basketball leagues, youth sports teams, and other groups.
- Transform the existing fieldhouse into a new spectator gym. An addition adjacent to the fieldhouse would provide a new entrance and lobby space.
- A new track layout would incorporate an expanded turf infield, increasing opportunities for students and the community to use the space, including physical education, band, athletics, Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR), and other community users.