Principles of community-based learning were integrated into every aspect of this new high school. The planning and design process was conducted with community participation and input. The design is based upon a “town square” model. The school building responds to the scale of the neighborhood, yet is positioned on the site in a way that establishes its significance as a CAPACITY500COST PER SQ FT$120.00FEATURED IN2003 Architectural Portfolio building. The school stands as the ultimate resource for learning in this rural community of less than 2,500 citizens.
The town square is created by linking an exterior courtyard and the interior commons as the central organizer. This design strategy allows daylight to penetrate the entire building and creates a sense of openness. The library, as a central learning resource, anchors one end of the open square, and the physical-education space anchors the other.
The design concept is reinforced in a civic architecture, which portrays the ideas of having a gateway and public gathering place. The result is a school facility that conveys to visitors that the building is a community where learning is important.