High school design

Remember the suggestion that the Massachusetts School Building Authority should have set high school building plans for towns to choose from to save money on design costs? One of the designs being considered is that of Ashland High School, which opened in 2006.

From the MetroWest Daily News:

The state was especially interested in the high school’s inclusion in what’s called the green school initiative, (Ashland Supt. Richard) Hoffmann said. The district received a $500,000 grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborate as part of the state’s Renewable Energy Trust to include environmentally friendly elements in the building.

The school generates about 5 percent of its own electricity thanks to photovoltaic cells on the roof, Hoffmann said. The building’s rear lobby and library also were designed to allow a great deal of natural light, he said.

“It’s very attractive, but it’s also efficient, because half of that roof was skylighting,” Hoffmann said. Lighting in other rooms is controlled by motion detectors.

The School Building Authority also seemed impressed that the school was designed with room for future growth, Hoffmann said. While the district set classrooms at about 800 square feet – roughly the middle of the range of acceptable sizes – its gym, library and other core facilities can expand.

“We did oversize those spaces just a little bit for say 1,000 students or 1,100 students, even though our enrollment projections say 900 students,” Hoffmann said. “They actually liked that. They said it’s great planning.”

The school also provides more storage space than most, and the authority credited the district and architect for the design of science labs and classrooms on both floors with movable walls that can accommodate a larger group of students, Hoffmann said. The school’s technology, from sound systems to overhead projectors in each classroom, also earned high marks.

The green thing is cool, isn’t it? The high school even has a page that talks about it here.


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