2017—Ray Braswell High School

Denton ISD—Ray Braswell High School
Architect: VLK Architects

Citizens created a comprehensive high school as a focal point & community gateway reflecting a curriculum based on the essential skills: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity & Critical Thinking. Organized into Learning Communities, collaborative and project based learning at the heart of the design creating connections, pathways and places to gather fulfilling the District’s Mission: “Empowering lifelong learners to be engaged citizens who positively impact their local and global community.”

DesignDesign—Star of Distinction

The design creates smaller learning communities within the framework of a larger school, creating connections and engagement between learning communities and the school community. These core concepts are seen in the architectural massing and the rhythm of the building façade; plan of the building and in the connection between interior spaces. Materials, colors and textures emphasize and express connections between the learning communities, public commons areas and special use spaces.

ValueValue—Star of Distinction

The design utilizes durable, locally sourced and budget friendly materials. The usage of efficient LED lighting and geothermal mechanical systems contributes to the reduction of operational costs. The polished concrete floors are durable and easy to maintain. Many of the flexible spaces have multiple uses and can adapt to a wide range of uses over the lifetime of the facility. The native, drought tolerant landscaping will require less maintenance and water.


The project is intentionally sustainable. Native drought tolerant landscaping is used on the site. Locally sourced masonry manufactured in the community is used. Low VOC paints and materials are utilized. All major occupied spaces have natural daylighting and views to the exterior. Low maintenance polished concrete floors are used throughout the school. Durable wall materials protect interior walls and enhance the life of the building. A geothermal HVAC system is used to cool the building.


An engaged citizens committee created the Comprehensive High School as a focal point and gateway to the community. The campus is located on a major corridor and is highly visible to the community. Local and regional Fine Arts and Athletic competitions will take place at the campus. To facilitate community use; designated entrances provide secure access to the auditorium, library and gym for events. The design process instilled community based values into the vision for the facility.


Engaged community members and a Bond Oversight Committee encouraged the District to build a new high school to serve a remote area of the district. The planning process evaluated numerous sites within a targeted area. The design team and District toured comparable facilities and held discussions with the leadership of the School District. The design evolved around the proposed curriculum and a desire to create a comprehensive high school to support project based learning.

School Transformation

An engaged community desired and created a High School to become the center of their community. The campus they created has extraordinary spaces for collaboration and project based learning. Eventually the campus will grow to include a 9th grade center and additional academic spaces.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner