Manassas Park High School represents a comprehensive reinvention of local public education. The school supplements the middle school—to create an academic campus that serves as a civic focal point.

Half the site is densely wooded and slopes steeply to an attractive creek bed. The front of the property is bounded by an industrial park. A new screen of maple trees along the access road creates a cloistered campus for the two schools and shelters the grounds from the busy road and nearby industry. A gap in this screen opens to a front lawn and bus loop. Both academic and gymnasium entrances front the green space, as does the middle school.

The building forms a fairly dense, L-shaped street wall so that most public spaces focus their views toward the wooded part of the site. A primary corridor ties together the athletic and academic buildings and sets up a link to a future intermediate school courtyard and fields beyond.

The building’s central drum is nestled behind the classroom wings and contains the school’s main gathering places. Clerestory windows fill this rotunda with natural light, and generous openings allow the wooded landscape to become a constant reference. Administrative and food service spaces, as well as the music and art programs, are contained on the lower floor. They surround a commons that accommodates both student dining and various forms of assembly—augmenting a conventional cafeteria with a versatile, all-school theatre space.

Manassas Park High School represents a comprehensive reinvention of local public education. The school supplements the middle school—to create an academic campus that serves as a civic focal point.

Half the site is densely wooded and slopes steeply to an attractive creek bed. The front of the property is bounded by an industrial park. A new screen of maple trees along the access road creates a cloistered campus for the two schools and shelters the grounds from the busy road and nearby industry. A gap in this screen opens to a front lawn and bus loop. Both academic and gymnasium entrances front the green space, as does the middle school.

The building forms a fairly dense, L-shaped street wall so that most public spaces focus their views toward the wooded part of the site. A primary corridor ties together the athletic and academic buildings and sets up a link to a future intermediate school courtyard and fields beyond.

The building’s central drum is nestled behind the classroom wings and contains the school’s main gathering places. Clerestory windows fill this rotunda with natural light, and generous openings allow the wooded landscape to become a constant reference. Administrative and food service spaces, as well as the music and art programs, are contained on the lower floor. They surround a commons that accommodates both student dining and various forms of assembly—augmenting a conventional cafeteria with a versatile, all-school theatre space.

Manassas Park High School represents a comprehensive reinvention of local public education. The school supplements the middle school—to create an academic campus that serves as a civic focal point.

The open upper floor of the drum is ringed by the media center with views through the Commons and to the outdoors. Brick solidifies the school’s street side and drum, while metal panels and anodized aluminum form a lighter enclosure facing the woods. Natural-finish birch plywood panels accent and warm the interior.

The school’s public spaces activate the ground floor, while the classrooms and labs are removed to the upper two floors. The classrooms gather around four teacher resource areas, centered on light-filled stair halls that serve as informal meeting and presentation areas. These halls focus typical corridor shuffle into usable space—the stairs themselves double as seating, providing places for intimate groups of teachers and students.

The academic spaces can be used in various combinations- each of the four sections can be treated as a distinct academy within the school or paired vertically as two independent houses, reducing the scale of a consolidated high school. Flexibility allows teachers to work together toward integrated curricula and structure both their classes and rooms to support inventive teaching strategies.

The open upper floor of the drum is ringed by the media center with views through the Commons and to the outdoors. Brick solidifies the school’s street side and drum, while metal panels and anodized aluminum form a lighter enclosure facing the woods. Natural-finish birch plywood panels accent and warm the interior.

The school’s public spaces activate the ground floor, while the classrooms and labs are removed to the upper two floors. The classrooms gather around four teacher resource areas, centered on light-filled stair halls that serve as informal meeting and presentation areas. These halls focus typical corridor shuffle into usable space—the stairs themselves double as seating, providing places for intimate groups of teachers and students.

The academic spaces can be used in various combinations- each of the four sections can be treated as a distinct academy within the school or paired vertically as two independent houses, reducing the scale of a consolidated high school. Flexibility allows teachers to work together toward integrated curricula and structure both their classes and rooms to support inventive teaching strategies.

The building’s central drum is nestled behind the classroom wings and contains the school’s main gathering places.
The building’s central drum is nestled behind the classroom wings and contains the school’s main gathering places.

“It's a world-class building, and the institutional image of our schools has soared.”

– Dr. Thomas Debolt Former Superintendent, Manassas Park City Schools
Manassas Park High School

Client: Manassas Park City Schools

Location: Manassas Park, VA

Discipline: Middle & High Schools

Completion: 2003

Size: 107,000 SF New (1999)and 41,000 SF Addition (2003)

Awards Received

2000 Citation for Excellence for School Architecture
National School Boards Association

2000 Grand Prize Winner
Learning By Design

1999 Merit Award
AIA Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE)

1999 Excellence in Architecture Award
AIA Virginia

1999 Honor Award
AIA Central Virginia

1999 Grand Prize Winner
Virginia School Boards Association

1998 Honor Award
AIA Central Virginia

1998 Merit Award
AIA Committee on Architecture for Education

1997 Honor Award
Virginia School Boards Association