Fayetteville High School Addition and Renovation
Architects: Hight Jackson Associates; DLR Group; Marlon Blackwell Architects
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Award of Merit
This 36-month restructuring of Fayetteville's high school buildings is the city's largest civic project in 50 years.
To maintain its competitive advantage in academics, Fayetteville Public Schools tasked the design team to strategically restructure its high school education program into a small learning community (SLC) model. At more than 500,000 square feet, this project is the largest civic project in Fayetteville over the past 50 years. It constitutes an addition and a massive modernization of aged buildings through a 36-month phased approach, allowing for continuous operation of the school during construction.
Fayetteville High School features greatly simplified circulation and improved security around a public entry plaza and a pedestrian green street that mediates between the first and second phase and the 85-foot change in topography across the site. SLCs are designed with core learning studios that feature discovery, project-based learning, digital and applied learning labs to foster collaboration. Distributed administration, resource centers and dining allow students to spend a majority of their day within their SLC. The addition features abundant glass and overlooks a new landscaped street that creates a collegiate campus feel reflective of the school's ties to the University of Arkansas.
The project strategically restructures the massive program into small learning communities. The buildings have an exceptional rigor that requires design discipline in its implementation (difficult to accomplish with such a large program). The buildings frame the outdoor courtyards, providing an elegant backdrop to the exterior learning environments. The project feels collegiate, which is aspirational for a high school campus. It is ingenious in its planning, both in relationship to the existing building and to the new and rejuvenated exterior spaces.