The new Sol. C. Johnson High School replaced a 1950s facility that was on the same site and no longer met the needs of the growing Thunderbolt community. The guiding principle in planning and designing the facility was the school’s motto “not to equal but to excel.”
The site encompasses 21 acres, including wetlands and trees protected CAPACITY1,325COST PER SQ FT$80.00FEATURED IN2001 Architectural Portfolio ordinance. Single-family homes, wetlands, a flood-control canal and a mixed forest tree define the site. Drainage required special consideration because the site has a shallow water table, and the old school frequently flooded. One of the greatest challenges of this project involved accommodating the needs of the construction crew while allowing the old school to remain open.
The one-story structure uses a radial plan for primary circulation, which allows faculty to easily monitor the halls. The auditorium and gymnasium have separate entrances and direct access to parking in order to facilitate after-hours events. For security, these areas can be locked off from the rest of the school.