Originally designed in the 1950s, Mercer Island High School needed to be updated. Classrooms were isolated, inflexible and did not allow for technology to be used as a learning tool. In addition, the campus was spread out in isolated buildings and did not provide sufficient gathering places for students.
The design retains a majority of the original ASSOCIATED FIRMMahlum ArchitectsCOST PER SQ FT$130.39CITATIONRenovation/Modernization CitationFEATURED IN2000 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation footprint, particularly in the academic wings and the athletic complex. A new angled spine connects existing wings and becomes the main organizing element of the school. The new construction is aligned with the spine slightly askew to the existing wings. Also connected to the central spine is the student commons, which serves as a lobby for the gymnasium and performing-arts center, and is used as a cafeteria and gathering area. The administration area, counseling offices, library and entrance from the main student parking area all have access or are adjacent to the commons.
In the classroom wings, each department has teacher offices, storage and conference areas. All of the offices have operable windows and were sized so they can be used as classrooms in the future. Corridors have higher ceilings and windows at each end, providing a well-lighted, inviting environment.
The parking areas were redesigned, eliminating off-street parking and increasing the visibility of the main entrance.
"The spine concept is terrific. New courtyard is a user-friendly area. Exciting student spaces."—2000 Architectural Portfolio jury
Photographer: ©Jeff Schroeder