When Joint School District No. 2 needed to find a site for Renaissance High School, it thought "outside the box." Instead of building from the ground up, it chose an adaptive-reuse delivery and purchased a 15,000-square-foot abandoned computer-memory manufacturing facility. The design team used a building-within-a-building concept to integrate COST PER SQ FT$121.00FEATURED IN2010 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYInterior Renovation program.
A second level was constructed independently from the existing shell, doubling the overall square footage. About 87,000 square feet of the 300,000-square-foot facility was converted into state-of-the-art classrooms, a media center, cafeteria and a 400-seat multipurpose lecture hall. A large network of skylights was cut into the existing roof structure over the central circulation areas to illuminate the building’s interior. Interior classrooms utilize the natural light from the skylight network through transom windows within the circulation ways.
The architect and interior designer chose building materials, finishes and colors that would be true to the building’s industrial origins. The existing red iron columns and beams, new mechanical elements and even wire trays were left exposed and used as both design elements and a potential lesson in construction. The space’s grown-up feel, almost collegiate level, is in keeping with the school’s International Baccalaureate program, which readies students in a rigorous way for higher education.