Stretching across a ridge in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains, Alpharetta High School is a jewel of academic design excellence. Counteracting the often impersonal culture of large schools, Alpharetta High School is designed to support a school-within-a-school concept.
The 1,850-student school population is divided among three classroom wings (or houses); CAPACITY1,850COST PER SQ FT$110.00FEATURED IN2005 Architectural Portfolio wing is served by a core group of teachers. This smaller community, sharing the resources and benefits of a larger high school, allows faculty to personally know and guide the same students for their entire high school career.
Students leave their houses for athletics, art, music and career-technology classes, and may switch houses for some language and science courses. However, the classroom wings were designed with the flexibility to support a variety of other organizational models as well.
The classroom wings open to a linear spine connecting the building’s shared facilities: the media center, cafeteria, career-tech components, arts and athletic facilities. In response to the client’s desire for a campus atmosphere, the arts and athletic facilities are in separate buildings near the front door to facilitate public access during and after school hours.
Sustainable design is an essential part of the design philosophy; every effort was made to be environmentally responsible at Alpharetta High School. Nearly all instructional areas receive daylight, building materials include recycled content, and trees removed from the site were harvested through timber companies.
In an effort to limit the effect on the Big Creek Basin and surrounding neighbors, site stormwater is controlled through a series of shallow rain gardens intended to help clean stormwater runoff from the building and parking lots, and rehydrate the water table prior to leaving the site.