The new “A Wing,” which is at the corner of Charles Allen Drive and 10th Street, has given the school more space to stretch out and for students to learn in a more comfortable environment. According to the Atlanta Public Schools Facilities Department, the school had capacity for 1,275 students before the building that has expanded to 1,500 students. The addition eliminated portable classrooms.
“I was thrilled when I learned the new building would be built,” AP Human Geography teacher Christopher Wharton said. “We have had trailers for way too long, and we’ve always had way more teachers than classrooms. My first two years here, I was on a cart [floating from classroom to classroom]; so, having a building where we can fit the whole Midtown staff is very exciting.”
The new space has floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Piedmont Park and plenty of natural light in classrooms. The new building also offers a permanent solution for teachers who did not have actual classrooms and floated from classroom to classroom, as well as for teachers in portable classrooms, such as Latin teacher Amy Leonard.
“It’s been fabulous,” Leonard said of her classroom in the new building. “It’s wonderful. I love it so much. I can’t even stand it. World Language was in the trailers for years; so, it is like a dream come true.”
Senior Sophie Rice was delighted about the addition of the new building.
“I was so excited when I heard the new building was being built because it was so crowded in the hallways and in the staircases,” Rice said. “While there is some crowding, it’s definitely a lot better because of the space the new building provides.”
Another notable feature of the school is Midtown’s new parking lot adjacent to the building. There is also a circular parking lot in front of the main building on Charles Allen Drive.
“I think it’s a huge upgrade from the dirt lot [the old parking lot where the A wing currently is],” senior Langston Hogan said. “However, I feel like there still isn’t enough parking space for the amount of people who drive to school. I sometimes end up having to parallel park on Tenth Street.
Along with classroom space, the new design features a main entrance plaza, according to the same APS report. Features include ADA accessibility and enhanced security, in combination with new security gates, enclosing Midtown from outsiders.
“There’s a misperception that they’re [the gates] designed to keep students inside the campus of Midtown, but that’s not the case,” Assistant Principal Carrie MacBrien said. “The purpose of the gates is to secure the perimeter of the school so outsiders don’t wander inside campus.”
The new building also features a large, colorful media center. Librarian Brian Montero believes the new library’s location is essential.
“Before, we were a little bit out of the way, so it was easy for people to forget that it [the media center] was there,” Montero said. “If students did, they would think about it, but just never bothered to come down because they didn’t want to travel so far. Being here, we are a lot closer to everybody, teachers and students, so we’re just more in the mix.”
Sophomore Arshia Larestani has frequented the new library and appreciates the space it provides for students.
“I like the open space and the aesthetically-pleasing design it has,” Larestani said. “The new media center can also serve as a hangout place for some students now, thanks to its cafe-like section at the opposite side of the main entrance.”
In addition to the media center, the renovation included another space that all Midtown students can utilize — the cafeteria. The cafeteria has been expanded and has an addition of a multi-purpose room, providing students with extra seating and room for extracurricular activities.
“It definitely gives people more room to eat in, which is just good in general,” sophomore William Sanders said. “For Covid, it also helps people spread out.”
Sanders said the old cafeteria was over crowded and noisy. However, with new additions of space, from the cafeteria to the media center, there is more accommodation for students.