Columbia High School was designed through a series of community workshops which began with outlining core values including: safety, respect, energy, enthusiasm, flexibility, durability, and maintainability. These values shaped the building concept and ultimate design. The building was zoned into academic, performing arts, and athletics wings, all of which are linked by the common social spaces.
Additional design strategies include separate entrances for greeting the public, parents, and patrons away from the student entrances. Bus and student parking was designed to control the general vehicle movement and allow for onsite water retention and snow removal. This design promotes student independence and safety while creating an engaging appealing appearance.
The building revolves around the social spaces, which include a large volume commons that flows from the dining areas into the lobby areas. This space serves as the hub of the school as well as the lobby for the performing arts events serving as the heart of the school.
The zones of use boldly emphasize the three dimensionality of the building. Classrooms are housed in lower, more detailed and calm spaces, with social areas housed within the taller, brighter and more active volumes of the building. This zoning also locates the various academic ‘academies’ in common pods off of the main circulation areas.
A primary concern was implementing many of the U.S. Green Building Council’s concepts such as day lighting with integrated lighting sensors and high performance glazing with exterior shading devices. CSHQA worked with the Integrated Design Lab to specify glazing and lighting and provide ample daylighting. An additional emphasis was placed on the use of exposed, durable and locally manufactured building materials to provide the school district with a high performance, low maintenance school facility.
Scope of Work
Located on 63 acres, the 262,800 sf, two-story $23 million high school with a separate 13,600 SF professional-technical building accommodates up to 1,600 students. Site amenities include a football and baseball stadium with support buildings, tennis courts, baseball, softball, soccer, and practice fields, plus a football field and stadium with seating for 2,500 spectators. There is on-site parking for 600 students and 160 faculty/visitor spaces. The building includes a 700-seat auditorium, black box theater accommodating 100 as part of the performing arts academy; broadcast studio, dark room and classrooms as part of the media arts academy, main and auxiliary gymnasiums, large-volume media center, student commons, and central gallery spaces. Adjacent to the main building is one of the District’s three vocational-tech facilities completing the academic campus.