The 2,500-student Andy Dekaney High School is the result of a four-month “visioning process” and facility program brainstorming session conducted by Spring ISD and the architect. The program recognized educational intent, flexibility, safety/security and a comfortable aesthetic as overarching themes. Additionally, the program called for the school to be organized in COST PER SQ FT$114.81CITATIONBronze CitationFEATURED IN2008 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYCommon Areas learning communities, each serving grades 9 to 12.
The 486,000-square-foot building is situated on an 80.7-acre site with natural materials that not only create a comfortable aesthetic, but also are inherently low-maintenance, durable finishes. Natural light is provided by large exterior windows and clerestory lighting.
The small learning community concept was used to break down the scale of the school. Each house is aligned vertically with students in grades 9 to 12. These alignments allow consistency of peers, teachers and dedicated administrators. Thus, if a student begins in one house, he or she will graduate from that same house and be taught by the same staff. Each house has its own flex space that can be used as a student lounge or small-group teaching space. The area can be supervised passively from the administrative complex in each community. These areas, as well as the rest of the building, offer both hard-wired and wireless computer access.
Additional flexibility is featured in the central 900-seat auditorium, which can be subdivided into two 150-seat teaching theaters with one 600-seat auditorium; a large-group instruction space with operable walls that serves as a multipurpose space; and a media center with four conference rooms.
The facility is a functional, positive learning environment wherein the teachers, staff, students and community develop a pride of place and a sense of belonging.
“Intriguing blend of local materials.
Good balance of space, volume and natural light.”--2008 jury