John Paul the Great High School

Dumfries, Virginia

  • FIRM

    MTFA Architecture


    Catholic Diocese of Arlington

  • AREA

    188,000 sq.ft.





Pope John Paul the Great High School was designed to serve 1,000 students with a curriculum focused on biotechnology. The focus of the building is a central chapel that creates a procession from the building’s main entrance through to the tabernacle. Symbols of the Catholic faith are integrated into the building.

The ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY1,000COST PER SQ FT$260.00FEATURED IN2012 Architectural Portfolio takes advantage of the sloping site by organizing a highly efficient and four-story structure around an interconnected Main Street corridor. Off Main Street, wings serving the library and a theater are angled inward to create the effect of a welcoming cloistered courtyard at the entrance. Wings serving the recreation and food-service areas angle out in the rear of the building to embrace the wooded landscape.

The building structure primarily is steel with engineered wood columns and beams to provide warmth for signature spaces such as the library and chapel. Decorative brick patterns reduce the scale of the exterior. The school superintendent said that the design team "demonstrated patience and perseverance in pursuing goals of design excellence, cost efficiency and symbolic reinforcement of our mission."