New Construction

Perkins Eastman Tops Out Net Zero Energy High-School Building

Architecture firm Perkins Eastman recently participated in a topping out ceremony for the new facility for Alexandria City High School at its Minnie Howard Campus in Alexandria, Va., according to a news release. The facility will have a capacity for 1,600 students and has an expected completion date of 2025. The building’s design is part of the Alexandria City Public Schools’ Connected High School Network (CHSN) initiative, whose goal is to reimagine high-school education and the city’s capacity needs.

“It is an honor to have worked with the school and community of Alexandria to create a design that celebrates ACHS’ legendary Titan culture while providing a new environment that will inspire more active and experiential learning and promote the health and well-being of students, staff, and the entire community,” said Sean O’Donnell, Perkins Eastman Principal, who leads the group’s K–12 practice. “This new building will complement the existing King Street campus to redefine the high-school experience for future generations of Alexandrians and become a central part of Alexandria’s innovative model for a connected high school network.”

According to the news release, the new school will feature amenities like interdisciplinary communities; labs for science, art, and CTE; a library/learning commons area; and administrative and counseling space. CTE spaces will accommodate subjects like “renewable energy, aerospace, cybersecurity, robotics, nursing, pharmacy, and surgical tech.” The school will also include “Creative Commons” dining areas, two gyms, an aquatics facility, an early childhood center, a teen wellness center, and more.

The facility is also on track to achieve Net Zero Energy and LEED Gold Certification, according to the news release, which bears special mention because of the aquatics facility. The news release reports that sustainable and high-performance design strategies include optimized enclosure designed to minimize energy loss; efficient systems thanks to a geothermal wellfield; Photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof; low-flow water fixtures; and choice of healthy building materials that minimize the negative impact on the environment.

“The shared vision for this school resulted in a building that will enhance education, enrich Alexandria’s community, and serve as a national model of sustainable, high-performance school design,” said Omar Calderón Santiago, AIA, Design Principal with Perkins Eastman.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].