I was educated in the Stroudsburg school district in eastern Pennsylvania. Nothing very exciting about it. Just a bunch of rednecks, jocks and geeks growing up together year after year in the same social circles. From 5th to 8th grade I was sent to middle school which turned out to be a large round school with no walls, part of an experimental “open plan” design that used blackboards, coat racks and tote trays (all on wheels) to separate classrooms. It felt like you were going to the future!
It was built in 1974 but we used to call it the rusty tin can because by the time we got there the metal that they had used for the outside was all rusted. The first thing that you noticed when you walked in was that there were primary colors everywhere. We were split into 2 halves (mountain and lake) so you never knew who half of the kids were unless you went to elementary school with them. By 8th grade we had been shuffled many times and were now split into A and B sections. We used to have classes like “Exploratory”, “PE Enrichment” (Physical Education) and “Unified Arts” where we learned how to sew, cook and make things out of plastic and wood. There were no windows but only thin glass doors on the outside of the building that we would sometimes go out of to play or have classes; I would often find myself staring out those doors dreaming about the outside. We had no cafeteria, our own pool and small round cubicles for private study.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of being so young and walking into an environment like that but like my Penn Hills Resort post I think that it has something to do with my fascination with 1970’s futurism and failed utopias. They eventually built walls in the school, destroying the very principals of the original design, and repainted the outside to get rid of the rust color.
Here are some photos from an article in the Pocono Record about the school. I don’t know any of the people in the photographs but you can see the school looming in the background. Check out the kids all hanging out on the hill in the second photo and how much the school looks like a Richard Serra sculpture in the third. The last photo shows the inside of the school at a much later date; no primary colors but you get the idea.
I remember going to use computers there