Royal Palm Beach Community High School is a multifaceted design response to the numerous and varied program requirements of The School District of Palm Beach County. The primary goals of the project design were: to provide the educational specification-required square footage in as compact and energy-efficient building footprint as possible; to develop a plan that could CAPACITY1,200COST PER SQ FT$97.00FEATURED IN1998 Architectural Portfolio for interdisciplinary, as well as departmentalized, teaching approaches; to maintain a floor plan and structural system that would permit future reallocation of space if, and when, teaching philosophies change.
The resulting design achieves these goals by enclosing 321,000 square feet of conditioned space in a series of 4 one- and two-story buildings arranged a 56,644-square-foot landscaped central courtyard. This courtyard serves as the center of non-classroom time student activity. Broken down landscape areas, coupled with items such as outdoor stages, make it an integral part of everyday student life. This centralization of vertical circulation and concentration of students enhances student supervision opportunities.
Other design considerations included stormwater retainage and mitigation of a designed wetland site, and providing for community use of fields and facilities after hours.
The interiors of each of the four buildings, or houses, were designed using a modular structural bay of 34 feet by 34 feet with no interior load-bearing walls, permitting the relocation of partitions in the future to accommodate changing instructional space needs. In addition to employing a team-teaching concept to spatially organize the four houses, the design also maximizes the adjacencies of related instructional spaces, such as math, science, English, social studies and language arts. All classroom spaces are located on the second-floor wing surrounding the courtyard and are organized within each of the four houses to provide separate but interrelated mini schools within the overall school facility.
The ground floor contains core facilities for the general student population, such as administration, exceptional-student education, gymnasium, physical-education, food service, music, auditorium and several vocational-technical laboratories. The exterior of the facility combines energy-efficient construction materials that are readily available and contextually harmonious with other civic buildings within the village of Royal Palm Beach.
Photographer: ©Ed Zealy Photography