The educational program requirements for the new Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School were developed in a three-day planning session with the school’s administrative staff, teachers and students. The design of the new school needed to house 1,800 students and support the departmental approach, grouping various general-studies programs, such as science and math, for ASSOCIATED FIRMGeary, Moore & AhrensCAPACITY1,800COST PER SQ FT$92.00FEATURED IN1998 Architectural Portfolio teaching. Other requirements included a 1,000-seat auditorium, a 2,000-seat gymnasium with an auxiliary gym, a computer-based technology program and specialized facilities for arts and sciences curriculums.
The long, narrow site, adjacent to the existing school, posed significant design challenges. It is bordered on one side by a high-pressure gas line and by a heavily wooded area with a 300-foot drop in elevation on the other. Very few elements could cross the gas easement, and a minimum amount of cover had to be maintained over the high-pressure gas line. The highly restricted site also required extensive drainage and site grading, and large on-site storm retention.
Influenced by the program requirements and the restricted site, the design of the building is long and linear with a slight, 13-degree bend that mimics the underground gas line. The three-story building is cut into the hill on the lower level, between the athletic and performing-arts facilities on the other end.
The lower level houses home economics, art, graphic arts and educational-technology classrooms. The building’s main entrances, administration/guidance area, language arts and social-studies classrooms, a tiered group-instruction room, media center, television production studio, cafeteria, gymnasiums and food-service areas are located in the intermediate or main floor level. The upper level houses math classrooms and science labs with access to two greenhouses that project out from the building.
Constructed of structural steel with masonry infill and bearing walls, the building has a concrete foundation and retaining walls. The exterior is brick with shingle and membrane roof systems. The mechanical system is comprised of a heating plant, and a separate cooling plant consisting of two outdoor, air-cooled rotary screw chillers with chilled water piping to air-handling units throughout the building. The classrooms are conditioned with fan-powered, VAV terminals above the ceilings, and the gymnasiums and auditorium use single-zone air-handling units.
Photographer: ©Emery Photography