Best Of Both Worlds?


Those who wish to maintain the tradition of the century old school building in Woodburn, while maintaining a school in Woodburn and providing for the needs of today and the future by building the new, should pay serious attention to the work of Jared Gorby. And they should tangibly support his efforts. His community school design is the best way to maintain tradition while also moving forward. In fact, incorporating tradition within progress is the only way to maintain strong and lively traditions. Otherwise, tradition essentially dies.

It still seems that the bulk of the new green school should be on the sidehill – that ground cannot be wasted – even if the reconfigured, revitalized original building is refashioned up top. All the additions, post-original-structure, should be knocked off to clear flat playground space up top, unless additional adjacent land is acquired.

Counting the basement which currently contains multiple offices, a classroom, and the lunchroom, the old Woodburn school is essentially a 3 story structure. The sidehill could be pulled away from the basement so that the basement is transformed into part of a first floor.

Incorporate those three stories to one or two (sub but ground level) stories stretched across the sidehill below, including shared spaces such as a gymnasium and lunchroom, and you’ve got a unique and highly functional four or five story building with no part of the building standing more than two stories off the ground. More-or-less a primary school on the sidehill and an elementary school above (pre-k through first, second through fifth).

Some land grading would be required but that is required at every site, and in any case this site has been previously heavily graded. In fact, given this design, some of the original grade could be (would need to be) restored.

Sound complicated? Too complicated? Possibly. But nothing that award winning designers couldn’t figure out. The designers of this school should win awards, from the local communities and beyond.

What about it, people of Morgantown with an interest in history and preservation? Time to step up with your wallets and purses and help it get done. See Gorby’s current and potential designs, how he puts the old in the new, and thereby adds dignity, grace, and utility to both.

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