If you find yourself reminiscing about a school you once attended or staffed, what are some feelings that arise? Nostalgia, probably. Pride, perhaps?
At some point down the road, when Bill Hesford looks back on his time as Principal of the new Bayfield Intermediate School (BIS), the feeling that may stand out is one of gratitude. “I am grateful to be able to stay and continue my career in Bayfield, first as a teacher, then as an assistant principal and now as a new principal,” he notes. Bill is also thankful that the community realized the need for a modern facility for young students and passed the bond that funded it.
Creating spaces Bayfield citizens can take advantage of was one guiding principle of the plan for BIS. The “commons” (cafeteria) is located near the gym, with doors that can close the area off from classrooms. The gym—complete with skylights—is actually the size a typical middle school would have, with two full courts and bleacher seating for 300. Those features, plus the soccer field outdoors, provide space for additional sporting and other events in town.
Another very important design principle was energy efficiency. There are 90 wells distributed around the campus, each one 400 feet deep to reach geothermal energy. In winter, fluid can be pumped down and brought back up to warm the buildings. In summer, excess heat can be “dumped” into the wells.
Since the entrance of the school faces north, the design included snow melt tubing under the courtyard. The system will keep students safer and allow maintenance staff to work elsewhere in the district on snowy days.
“There’s natural light in every classroom and in all the hallways and common areas,” Bill explains. In addition, the electric lights automatically dim on sunny days and brighten up when there’s cloud cover.
Nowadays when funding is so hard to come by, even for basic public services, it’s a testament to the character of Bayfield that citizens were willing to invest in the new Bayfield Intermediate School. It does seem like a key missing piece of the education picture is now in place, doesn’t it?
The old school buildings on East Street can be put to other uses. Kindergarten through second graders will attend Bayfield Primary School (formerly Bayfield Elementary), on Mustang Lane near BEEP. Students in grades three through five will attend BIS, just across East Oak Street from 6th through 8th graders at Bayfield Middle School. It’s a system that will serve Bayfield’s young people well into the future, and that’s something we can all be grateful for.