Waxahachie ISD—Waxahachie High School
In lieu of a 150,000-square-foot addition, a one-high school district moved its growing population to a new site, then repurposed its existing building. Although the new school is focused on collaboration, the long-standing culture remains. The school’s presence honors the city’s history. Interior organization and style breathes new life, promoting learning beyond the classroom. Students are rewarded with collegiate, next generation educational spaces the existing facility could not accommodate.
The colossal scale and style enrich a collegiate vision for the campus. Brick and stone patterns allude to the city’s historic presence. Learning is heightened in a career tech space to encourage cross-curricular engagement. Learning wings branch off from the “cultural heart,” a central courtyard, learning commons, and student union. Each wing connects with a communal ideation space. A neutral palette and intentional minimalism, married with school colors, create an open, contemporary interior.
Moving the old campus to a new building adds over 470,000 square feet of resources. The walls are covered with student-selected inspiration, creating an energized culture. Dual-purpose spaces serve as educational spaces and social hubs. A rentable theater, public restaurant, and competition gym are easily accessible to welcome public involvement. The investment in modernized equipment and large neighboring zones accomplishes the vision for student and community advancement and engagement.
The new school capitalizes and improves student well-being. Classrooms have exterior views and interior corridors open to courtyards. The envelope is both cost-effective and energy-efficient. The timeless, durable, low-maintenance materials and native plantings reduce maintenance cost. Building orientation on the 30% developed site maximizes sunlight and growth potential. Passive cooling in large volume spaces help reduce A/C loads.
To embrace the city’s rapid growth, the district viewed the new high school as the cornerstone for the evolving community. Setting the tone for the area’s development, the high school reflects the city’s history and community values through its traditional brick architecture, emulating historic buildings. Additionally, the new school serves as a shared space, allowing the community to hold events, workshops, and meetings on-site after-hours.
Upon discussion and assessing of the existing facilities, the community’s core values and goals were created. The district’s desire to welcome past, present, and future inspired the learning commons to be the heart of the school, honoring the city’s history, the school’s culture, and create a next generation learning hub. Student achievement guided the design of career-driven spaces, while the rising population guided adaptable site planning.
The CTE space is set apart by a natural, industrial style. New project spaces house 93% of students and fluidly connects lecture and break out areas. Flexible spaces allow for frequent adaptation to the curriculum, including 14 CTE programs. The city is supported by growing industry and desire to hire local first; therefore, community partnership was crucial to create a technical career program. Upon graduation, students are prepared for numerous career paths and receive college credit.
Star of Distinction Category Winner