Working together, Alexandria City Schools, the architect and community leaders settled on a new vision for replacing T.C. Williams High School. The measures taken to make this vision a reality:
•Community and ownership. The school is configured to operate as four 575-student academies and one 200-student academy. The academy structure co-locates classrooms, CAPACITY2,500COST PER SQ FT$186.00FEATURED IN2008 Architectural Portfolio services, counselors, social workers, administrators and clerical assistance to support teachers and students in smaller learning environments. This structure helps students build relationships and makes it easier to facilitate project-based learning and collaboration among teachers.
•Safety. The school has more than 100 video cameras situated in critical areas of the school. Additionally, design considerations include wider hallways, decentralized administration offices and natural light.
•Impact of sustainability. Although the community fully supported the concept of creating a green school, the idea that the school could be used as a teaching tool was the sincere intention. The designer met with each curriculum specialist and planned out how to incorporate the building’s green features into the curriculum. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded a point for curricula involvement in the building’s sustainable rating systems. Features incorporated into the curriculum:
-A 450,000-gallon cistern that stores water to use in toilet flushing, irrigation and cooling tower operations (net water savings of more than 6 million gallons per year).
-A rain garden to increase water quality in downstream tributaries.
-A roof garden that provides stormwater management and education opportunities for science and horticulture curriculums.
-Specialized HVAC and lighting-system controls that reduce energy consumption by 20 percent more than 1999, ASHRAE 90.1.
-A central “dashboard” in the dining area, which provides students with access to the data collected by the measurement and verification system.
T.C. Williams High School has been registered with the USGBC and anticipates receiving silver or gold certification.