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For many students, high school can be a place of transformation. A place where direction becomes clear and fluid. And in order for students to make the most out of their secondary education, they need to have a school that can provide the contemporary classrooms where all of the students are able to collaborate to find the answers they are seeking.
The Richland High School Replacement is a transformation of a 50-year-old obsolete facility for 2,400 students into a state-of-the-art learning environment. Successfully built around and implemented while the existing building remained in session, this replacement school incorporates specialized academic, athletics and arts wings. They are connected by a series of learning pathways that comprise the “Lyceum” – a place for public learning – divided by secure outdoor learning courtyards that lend a campus-like feeling to the complex.
The vision was to completely modernize and recreate the oldest high school in the district into a vibrant, sustainable and modern collaborative learning environment.
The original facility, built in the late 1950s, had small classrooms, poor air circulation, narrow corridors, and huge split-level accessibility issues, all of which needed to be addressed with new branding and fresh design.
Phasing logistics were complex and critical to the vision of the project, as construction took place during school sessions. An extensive design charrette process was conducted involving board members, district administrators, on-site staff, city agencies, community representatives and student representatives to ensure the success of the vision.
Site and building design strategically allowed for both buildings to exist at the same time during construction. The design saved two existing wings and integrateed them into the final plan. Utilizing an L-shaped configuration around the existing school allowed construction to continue while students were in session.
The Lyceum design concept encompasses a series of public spaces such as a mini-conference center, library, café & bistro, and numerous academic clusters, resulting in a campus-like feel with intervening day-lit courtyards.
A “Main Street” administrative corridor features frontage, separate reception areas and signage for each department.
Classrooms on each floor and in each wing are clustered around Co-Labs (Collaboration Labs) that energize students and staff, facilitating collaboration and activities between classrooms and across departments.
The design and implementation of this replacement high school saved the client 30 percent from what it would have cost to build a new high school on a new site.