Construction begins on 'futuristic' new building for Willard Schools

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Tuesday marked the official groundbreaking for the future Willard Intermediate School. The building will be constructed behind Willard Orchard Hills Elementary School near Mt. Vernon and Miller in Springfield.

The $18 million school was designed for fifth and sixth graders.

"It's going to be a learning environment that's designed around what students need as opposed to what teachers need or what the adults need, very student0-focused, student-centered, and that makes it pretty unique," said Tom Davis, principal of Willard Intermediate.

The newest wing of the nearby elementary school, Orchard Hills, features what school leaders are calling 'futuristic' classrooms.
The rooms are similar to the spaces planned for the new building.

"From a student perspective, we like the idea of flexibility, we like the idea of not having as defined of a space as far as the walls. We're going to have some open spaces, open learning spaces," Davis said.

The building will be constructed to accommodate some 450 students, with the potential to house up to 700. The Willard School District has seen growth projections topping 3 percent over the next ten years.

"It's so exciting. We're such big fans of being inside Orchard Hills Elementary School, and we're so close to it, so we are very excited for the Intermediate School," said Stella Chamberlain, a parent of two Willard students.

It is expected to take about 17 months to complete the project with an anticipated opening date for the fall of 2019.