Murfreesboro City Schools invited WGNS to tour the new Overall Creek Elementary School that is scheduled to open with the new school year in July. Principal Don Bartch's love for children, coupled with his enthusiasm are making the two-story gabled roof structure, something educators from across the nation will look at as "cutting edge".
Meet Principal Don Bartch
“Mr. Bartch’s experience and leadership is ideal for his role as principal of Overall Creek. He has been involved in opening new schools including Scales and knows the excessive details involved in being prepared for opening day of a new school,” says Dr. Linda Gilbert, Director of Murfreesboro City Schools. “He understands the vision of this school district and its focus on children. Additionally, he knows many of the students and parents that Overall Creek will serve.”
Bartch has served as an administrator at Scales since the school’s opening in 2005 and has been a vital part of the school’s success serving as Vice Principal and later Principal. Prior to joining Murfreesboro City Schools, Bartch taught at Christiana Middle School in Rutherford County and North Pike High School in Summit, Mississippi.
Access to Overall Creek Elementary School is off the wide Veteran's Parkway. To assure that nearby subdivisions are not inconvenienced with congested traffic, the Mooreland Lane intersection is being dramatically widened, all the way up to the school's entrance.
(Above Photo) Murfreesboro City School's Public Information Officer and Grant Writer Lisa Trail (pointing up), tells about the lobby area. The large area behind the visitors is the school's administration area.
Student safety is integrated throughout Overall Creek. Since the school is two-stories tall, educators are able to stand at one end of the complex and easily see activities at the opposite end.
And with the school having two-levels, it is the same square footage of of the city's other 1,000-student campuses, but the roof is half the size. Plus, Murfreesboro's Johnson-Bailey Architects incorporated a gabled roof in the design, instead of a traditional flat roof. This should dramatically reduce maintenance costs.
Student Learning Space
The two-story complex is an educational dream come true. Each classroom has its own bathrooms, first floor classes have an emergency exit in each room, and giant 60+ inch touch-screen TV's will enable teachers to present videos to students in high definition.
Bartch is within budget, and making the campus a showplace for modern education. During the tour, he shared about consultations with teachers about whether tables and separate chairs or traditional school-chair-desks would be better? They chose desks with separate chairs. Bartch told us that he was able to get aesthetically pleasing designs and colors while saving significantly over what was budgeted.
(Above Photo) That is the serving area in the far middle of the picture. Students will enter from the door from which this photo was made, and exit to the far right. The large open area will be filled with colorful rounded tables to create an inviting atmosphere.
The same is true with the cafeteria. You couldn't listen to Don Bartch without getting excited as he described the cafeteria. Again, colorful tables that give more of a dining room feel. Plus, the huge cafeteria is designed to allow easy flow of students in one area and out another. So that students can eat healthier, Bartch's out of the box thinking is creating large gardens around the campus . . .
His excitement elevated more as he described large gardens that would raise fresh vegetables so that the students could have healthier meals. Most of the gardens would be located in space between the structures. (Photo Below) This would be one of the garden areas.
Outside Education Stations
The tree-line across the back of the campus is where Overall Creek lies. Principal Bartch told us about specially designed education stations that would be created. On pretty days, classes would be able to go outside and study in these special environments. You could tell Bartch was passionate about this feature . . .
Library Media Center
The new school's library media center will have a mix of e-books as well as printed volumes. Principal Bartch told WGNS News . . .
So it definitely sounds like traditional paper and print books will be a vital part of the educational environment at Overall Creek Elementary School.
Overall Creek Elementary School is designed to be environmentally friendly. Classrooms have huge windows to allow plenty of sunlight. Plus, geothermal wells are scattered throughout the property. They go thirty-plus stories into the earth to cool and heat the massive complex.
(left photo) This is what one of the geothermal wells looks like on the surface. There are approximately 300 of the wells, and each goes down into the earth for approximately the same depth as a 30-story skyscraper is tall.
This is the city's second campus to use a geothermal system. John Pittard Elementary School has proven that such a system saves several thousand dollars in electric bills annually.
General Contractor Superintendent Jon Hooker (left photo) with Robert Biscan Company, explained to WGNS news about the wells . . .
Biscan Construction is located in Brentwood's Maryland Farms. Their website notes that for 28 years, the firms has specialized in educational, industrial, commercial, health care, retail and religious construction.
Since the campus is on a creek, its mascot is the otter. School colors are a deep, rich shade of purple and gold.
The creative group of Barker & Christol Advertising worked with Murfreesboro City School staff to design the logo.