Blending of the old and the new

TRANSITION PROGRAMS: CCA teacher Elizabeth Erickson shows off new home and transition equipment in her classroom. CCA’s classroom addition has allowed it to add new programs for students, including a transitional program to help students learn what it’s like to live alone and work or go to college. (Pioneer photos/Elizabeth Badovinac)

TRANSITION PROGRAMS: CCA teacher Elizabeth Erickson shows off new home and transition equipment in her classroom. CCA’s classroom addition has allowed it to add new programs for students, including a transitional program to help students learn what it’s like to live alone and work or go to college. (Pioneer photos/Elizabeth Badovinac)

CCA addition shows positive development and feedback

BIG RAPIDS — It might be hard to spot, but some of Crossroads Charter Academy’s halls are younger than others.

The blending of the new and old, something that Crossroads has focused on throughout the duration of its additions to the middle and high school building, shows a great deal of masterful thinking and pre-planning strategy.

“This was built in phases,” said middle and high school principal Ross Meads.

“We started right after the last day of school last year and built through the summer. After Christmas, we moved into phase three. We liked that it was new, but we wanted everything to look the same, not like we pieced it together. Unless you knew it, you probably can’t even notice that the newer parts of the school are, in fact, newer.”

Indeed, with much of the building looking pristine, cleanly and new, it is hard to tell where the addition starts and stops.

The addition, a result of a bond and about a seven month project, has added 11 classrooms onto the building, serving mostly upperclassmen but affecting the class time of many students.

“It has made a huge difference,” Meads said. “We needed space. We were using parts of the computer lab and cafeteria for classes before this.”

LAB: Principal Ross Meads displays the new primary lab room. Instead of having lecture classes and labs in the same room, creating distracts for students, CCA’s addition has helped spread classes out. Teachers can now set up lab in a different room and have students participate without taking up extra class time to prepare and sort through the equipment.

LAB: Principal Ross Meads displays the new primary lab room. Instead of having lecture classes and labs in the same room, creating distractions for students, CCA’s addition has helped spread classes out. Teachers can now set up lab in a different room and have students participate without taking up extra class time to prepare and sort through the equipment.

The new space has eliminated the need to extend classrooms into other rooms, providing more than enough space to not only separate appropriate classes, but to add new ones as well.

For example, instead of having a lab class and lecture class in one room, teachers may now set up a lab in a separate room, something that Meads thinks is a relief for both instructors, who have to prepare the lab, and students, who could potentially be distracted by the equipment.

“Before the addition the labs were in the same classrooms as other periods,” he said. “Opening up the new classrooms allows us to use certain rooms specifically for labs. I was a chemistry and physics teacher before — it was always frustrating to set up a lab and have kids from other periods messing with it. This allows us to send the kids over here specifically for lab.”

The school also plans on adding new classes to the curriculum thanks to the additional classroom space, such as a transition program to help students learn what it’s like to live by themselves and go to college.

For Meads, the addition has provided new opportunities for his students as well as providing a better, newer place to study.

“I think it looks good,” he said. “The team has done a great job.”

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Posted by Elizabeth Badovinac

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