Karen Wagner High School

San Antonio, Texas

  • FIRM



    Judson Independent School District

  • AREA

    399,949 sq.ft.





A major design challenge for the new high school was for the use of “natural and native” materials from the San Antonio area. Making use of local limestone and brick, the building becomes a dominant feature in the landscape. In addition, the design called for a scholastic, “collegiate” environment that instills a sense of pride in all students, faculty, staff and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY3,000COST PER SQ FT$121.00FEATURED IN2007 Architectural Portfolio community. This design is reinforced on the interior of the building by the use of subtle and elegant colors, materials and finishes.

The initial programming concept used the radical footprint of two “Y’s” placed end-to-end. This allowed the building to be compressed, while allocating the maximum amount of exterior windows and natural light to permeate the building.

The plan hinges off four distinct areas. The most prominent is the main entry with its dominant tower element. The second is the auditorium with its own entry and parking area. This area includes a lobby and cafe, which serve patrons during performances. The student entry is the third area with its own entry and parking lot. The bus dropoff area in the back of the school includes a covered canopy leading into the commons space.

Named for Lt. Col. Karen Wagner, a 1979 Judson High School graduate, the school exudes the close connection between community and schools. From the onset of the design phase, the community has supported the educational facility through time, effort and energy.

Situated on a 100-acre hilltop site, the facility overlooks San Antonio’s downtown skyline. Wagner is Judson ISD’s second high school; the first high school was built in the 1950s. As such, the district wanted to establish a new level of technological and academic excellence for the facility.