Horizons High School

Mission, Kansas

  • FIRM

    DLR Group


    Shawnee Mission Unified School District

  • AREA

    59,471 sq.ft.





This alternative-education school, the first purpose-built alternative school in Kansas, creates a learning environment more easily adapted to the special needs of “at risk” students.

The decision to build a new school on the site of the existing facility presented many challenges. Students in the program were displaced for two years during construction. The ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY250COST PER SQ FT$113.00FEATURED IN2002 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized of the small, sloping site required creative design solutions. To accommodate all the program requirements, designers buried the gymnasium in the hill, made a two-story classroom tower and created an open front entrance that overlooks a lower-level commons.

Special requirements, such as a daycare center and enhanced security, were required. The design also needed to have enough flexibility to accommodate a different educational program in the future. Passive design features such as strategic placement of administrative and staff areas throughout the building to increase supervision, along with an unobtrusive camera system, create a safe environment for students and staff. Other unique elements include an activity area with billiards tables, a nursery and outdoor play area, counseling rooms and a media center with a reading/discovery area to encourage interaction.