The Out-of-Door Academy Reimagines Middle School with Programmatic Enhancements, Facility Expansion



The Out-of-Door Academy is excited to announce a reimagined Middle School. Beginning with programmatic changes implemented over the past several years, the project will be fully realized with the completion of a state-of-the-art 13,500-square foot facility opening Fall of 2020. The new Middle School building will create a safe, inviting enclave for learning and exploring exclusively designed for students in grades six through eight. The structure of the building was created for and inspired by students and incorporates findings from the latest research on how students learn best. Project-based, student-centered learning teaches students essential skills for their future, and the new space was conceived with this in mind. The School’s commitment to putting students first has driven recent changes to the schedule of classes and a proliferation of student-led clubs. Additional elective offerings have been added in STEM, wellness, and the arts for all Middle School students. New spaces will be built to support this coursework with studios for foreign languages, humanities, multimedia, and visual arts on the second story. The ground level of the new facility will center around an open, academic commons where students and faculty can interact informally and classes can collaborate, promoting innovative interdisciplinary learning experiences. A new MakerSpace and Virtual Reality Lab will allow students to ignite their curiosity using cutting-edge technology and tools.

This project was designed in conjunction with long-time ODA partners FleischmanGarcia Architects and The Willis A. Smith Corporation. The team has worked together to establish a distinct characteristic style seen throughout the buildings on campus. Funding for the project began with three lead gifts of $1 million each. Electricity for the entire building will be generated by energy collected through solar panels as ODA strengthens its commitment to utilizing renewable energy sources. Out-of-Door’s entire Lower School campus on Siesta Key is run on solar energy and the new Middle School building will begin the expansion of solar power on the Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch. The philosophy of Out-of-Door’s Middle School program is to arm students with the skills they will need in high school, higher education, and most importantly, in life. Before students step into the classroom, this mindset starts with a set of teachers and advisors tuned into the specific needs of the adolescents in their care. ODA’s focused approach to teaching empowers students to become independent learners, poised for whatever the future holds.

Pictured: Head of School David Mahler and Chair of the Board of Trustees Ashley Kozel at the building site

To learn more about Out-of-Door Academy and the planned enhancements

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