SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public School leaders and faculty met to work plans for three new middle schools Friday. They also sought input from some experts, actual middle schoolers.

In effort to deal with the growing school population voters approved a $495.3 million bond to remodel current facilities and build new schools. The bond includes building three new middle schools, replacing three current ones and creating more space for programs at Libby Center and On Track Academy.

Prior to the meeting on Friday, three dozen middle school students from around the district were brought together and asked what they wanted in the new middle schools.

"We were just in groups and we just talked and we were honest about how we were feeling and how we viewed school,” Chase Middle School Eighth Grader Kenlove Stenson-Oakley said.

Stenson-Oakley and Emily Richardson, an eighth grader at North Central IST, shared their ideas with the group. They would like to see more open spaces on campus, wider hallways and more communal space so student can connect with one another. As far as the classrooms, they are looking for less structure and rooms that give them options to sit or stand. They suggested rooms with removal walls so they can have more space if needed.

"I think we are all asking for a variety of places to work and natural light and colors, things that are different from the normal today,” Richardson said. "It's too structured for us and we can't learn. Not everyone is learning in that type of environment anymore and we need to change and adapt so everybody will be able to get what they need."

The district is still in the early stages of designing the new schools.

"I really hope that what we are talking about will become a reality,” Richardson said.

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