For its new high school, the city of Trussville wanted to reflect the best of its community while respecting the ecology of the site along the banks of the Cahaba River, one of America’s last and longest free-flowing rivers. The Trussville school board also wanted to embrace the latest technologies and most effective teaching techniques while incorporating such COST PER SQ FT$238.60FEATURED IN2009 Architectural Portfolio in the design that newer and more effective teaching tools may be added seamlessly.
Natural stone found in structures throughout the community was used to stunning effect by combining it with an inviting classical portico. The building is shaped around the river to respect and celebrate the environment, while also teaching the importance of preserving it. A soaring, light-filled cafeteria with tall windows provides inspiring views of the river. Playing fields on the other side—connected to the campus by a pedestrian bridge—take advantage of existing grasslands. Even the woodland parking area preserves special species of trees tagged by the architects for survival.
From the beginning, the school board committed to build for the future, so they decided to invest on the front end in design features to ensure energy efficiency and reduce maintenance costs over the long term, such as a state-of-the-art HVAC system to monitor and control energy usage. High-quality metal roofing is part of a rainwater-collection system that channels water into a pond to supply the school’s irrigation system. Natural light throughout reduces the need for—and the cost of—artificial lighting.