New 9-12 High School
Indian Creek Local School District hired SHD as their architect to design a new high school, an elementary school housing grades Pre-K through 4, and to renovate a second elementary, grades Pre-K to 4. Indian Creek’s desire for a progressive, student-centered learning environment to match their vision for the future of education was evident from the start.
SHD engaged a group of educators, board members, and community members to create a defined vision for the district. Participants from the visioning session continued to provide input as members of the Design Committee who met with the design team on a bi-weekly basis at the earliest stages of designs. SHD used 3D modeling software to share their ideas for the district’s new buildings and communicate designs to the district. As the design was solidified, SHD created a series of photo-realistic renderings for each school, followed by a handful of video walk-throughs that further showcased the details of the buildings before the first shovel was put into the ground. These renderings were shared with the community at regular intervals, creating excitement and anticipation for the changes to come.
Built on a unique site containing bedrock and variable topography, the high school was thoughtfully designed into a hill to accommodate the districts 600 plus students in grades nine through twelve. The roof lines pay tribute to the surrounding residential neighborhoods and topography. The building shapes and roofs are intended to break down the scale of the building to fit within the context. The brick and metal façade materials were inspired by colors found in nature. Black brick was used to develop a layering of the building forms to simulate the natural layered shale found in the area.
With community in mind, the building is welcoming to parents and visitors, with easy access to public amenities located adjacent to the second-floor entry. The student dining space acts as a hub to connect the event and public spaces. It is adjacent to a 700-seat auditorium as well as the high school gymnasium with elevated walking track. The facility was intended to be an asset for the entire community.
The two story academic wing is located behind a set of doors meant to serve as an acoustical barrier and layer of security for the learning spaces. Classrooms are grouped around extended learning areas filled with flexible furniture that can be used as both an extension and interconnection between spaces.
As a district full of school pride for both athletics and academics, Indian Creek wanted to use their school colors, red and yellow, in public areas such as the gymnasium and auditorium. In academic areas, designers focused on combining those colors with those that research has shown to improve educational settings. It was important to strike a balance between colors that are shown to lower heart rate and provide calm, while still being stimulating to keep students engaged.
With a collegiate feel, extended learning areas (ELA’s) evolved to offer students various tools to aid in the discovery process. Some of those tools include mobile carts with interactive displays, multiple writable surfaces (including whiteboards and built-in cabinetry with writable surfaces), and print stations. The furniture was thoughtfully selected to enhance discovery, and is flexible, mobile, and comfortable.
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