Introducing a new high school and full athletic facilities on 80 suburban acres created a real concern for residential neighbors. The design addresses that concern with a serene facade fronted by landscaped berms, ecological/educational retention ponds, and new wildflower meadows to soften the school’s exposure to the neighboring houses. The active CAPACITY600COST PER SQ FT$126.29FEATURED IN2006 Architectural Portfolio elements—parking, athletic fields and main entry for the building—were situated behind the serene facade.
The floor plan followed suit by separating quiet and active interior spaces. On the active side are the gym, music and auditorium functions. In the center of the building are the food service, commons and staff functions. Facing the quiet side of the site are the two-story classroom wings with outstretched arms to envelop the solitude of the ponds.
The two-story-high entrance hall transforms itself into a mall-like commons area. The commons houses daily cafeteria functions, as well as special events and daily student activities, and acts as a gathering space during gym and auditorium special functions. The new high school has become a catalyst to spur new growth in the district. The core facilities can accommodate double the number of students, and growth can be accomplished easily by expanding each classroom wing. Both the building and site respond to the demands of a high school’s many functions, and conventional spaces have been arranged to create a unique and exquisite learning environment.