This new high school is designed to support the innovative teaching techniques in use in the district, which participates in a national organization, the Coalition of Essential Schools. The academic wing has 15 self-contained learning communities, each for 100 students who are taught by an interdisciplinary team. A performing arts wing has a 1,000-seat theater and teaching space for art, music and applied technology. A skylit, two-story “town square” at the heart of the building is a magnet for students to gather, as are benches along the windowed corridors. A childcare center, adult education rooms and health clinic are open to the community.
The new high school complex was developed in a 100-acre wooded site within a three town school district with new access roads from a state highway and a local road. The traffic was separated by a dedicated bus loop at the main entrance and three separate parking lots around three sides of the large school building. The parking lots and drives were divided by large areas of existing trees that kept the feel of the natural wooded setting.
Eleven sports fields were developed as an outer ring around the developed building/ parking core and were also set into the natural area with large untouched wooded buffers between. Stormwater management, keeping post-development runoff equal to predevelopment rates, was designed to use several treatment basins throughout the site. Even though the site was two miles from connection to public water and sewer mains, the school district chose to make those connections rather than use an on-site water well and septic system. Harriman coordinated closely with the local water district and sanitary district to design the new mains and equipment to the district’s standards. The two-mile long sanitary force main was extended along the shoulder of a state route, and coordination with MDOT during design and construction was handled by Harriman staff. The two-mile water main extension was extended in another direction along a town-owned road, and coordination was made with the local municipal office, Road Commissioner, and Water District personnel.