Because You Asked . . . .    

 940 S. Old 3-C Highway as Big Walnut Elementary School in 1991

New Ideas Foundation for Middle School

In 1968 construction began on the Big Walnut Middle School on 20 acres of ground on south Old 3-C Highway.

The building was the first in central Ohio to be built on the new open concept. "Textbook taught and frequent-teacher-lecture course is appropriate for kerosene lamp stage of education and cannot seriously be supported at any level tomorrow," noted the school publicity.

The building has no permanent classroom walls but rather moveable partitions and storage cabinets on casters to form walls. Children can be arranged in groups of 90 or in classes of 30 or even in cubbies for work with individuals.

Wall to wall carpeting and acoustical ceiling tiles were to eliminate noise between classes. Artificial lighting replaced windows to prevent eyestrain. Gas-fired hot water boilers and air conditioning would keep the temperature constant year round.

Curriculum required students to use the 3500 sq. ft. library every day. There was also a science center, unified arts center (for home economics, fine arts and industrial arts), band and music space, a 50' x 60' gym which doubles as an auditorium with stage and a kitchen.

Structured education was eliminated for10-14 year old students.. The curriculum plan consisted of personal development (counseling opportunities, health and physical development, and individual exploration), skills for continued learning (reading, listening, asking questions, library tools, problem solving, observation, organization and evaluating information), and organized knowledge (English, mathematics, science and social studies).

Students worked with supervisors to select courses they wished to take. For the student with lots of help from home, the new system worked well. Many teachers had as much trouble adjusting as the students.

However the classrooms were very noisy, concentration was poor and many other problems arose. 

In 1972 classrooms were so crowded the 5th grades moved back to the elementary schools So when the new high school was built, the Middle School students moved into the old high school facility on Baughman and the old Middle School became Big Walnut Elementary School.

When the elementary became crowded, modules were added behind the school for the kindergarten classes.

Photos from 940 South Old 3C:    
Playground1-600.JPG (100272 bytes)       bwe-2003-600.JPG (41545 bytes)

Installing Playground


. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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(04/01/2006 )

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