The new Exeter High School is designed to accommodate 2,000 students. The school is organized into two distinct zones—the classroom zone and the public zone. One can easily recognize the main entrance of the school by the location of the clock tower. Upon entering the new school and passing through the secure and controlled entry vestibule situated directly in front of CAPACITY2,000COST PER SQ FT$117.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio administration area, one has immediate access to the cafeteria, library, gymnasium and auditorium. Locker rooms, a weightroom, health classrooms and gym storage flank the rear of the gymnasiums, and music rooms and stage support spaces ring the auditorium. From the center of the building, two corridors lead to the two-story classroom zone, which can be secured easily during evening and weekend events. On the second floor above the main lobby, art classrooms line the corridor gallery.
Realizing the challenges of operating such a large school, designers organized the floor plan to allow students to be grouped into smaller units. If operated as smaller schools within a large school, the facility can accommodate eight groupings of 250 students, two per grade. Two groups share a locker commons and have their own satellite administration and guidance areas. To remain flexible, the school has the option to operate in a departmental organization. Both models can be accommodated easily in part because the science labs are situated around the core of each wing.
Every opportunity was taken to bring natural light into the large school. A courtyard was added to ensure all offices have natural light. Windows and doors are provided at the ends of most corridors. Bringing natural light into the corners of the four commons and main circulation spine, and installing benches created opportunities for interaction.