Orange County High School, with a population of approximately 1,200 students, is the sole high school serving the county. The original 1950’s structure has been enlarged several times over the past five decades. Despite construction of a spacious new athletics field house, erected on an adjacent site in 1995, little attention has been paid to the aging high school building. Furthermore, the field house has no relationship to the main building in orientation or style, yet a number of classrooms and physical education facilities that students regularly used were inside the field house. On an hourly basis, a massive amount of foot traffic crosses the roadway and parking areas between the original building and the field house, leaving a significant piece of the educational program disconnected and making supervision very difficult for administrators. This lack of synchronicity among the additions through the years created a scattered sense of student life at the school.

As a first step to restoring order, an intensive programming exercise was conducted to identify needs across disciplines and begin to make sense of how the campus functioned. For example, to reunite the science department and provide modern lab facilities, an addition was built on the west end adjacent to others that were to be renovated. Teachers were also each given office space in specially designed planning rooms to foster better communication and interdisciplinary collaboration. Further, the functionality of the three other core subject areas, fine arts, career and technical education, special education, the administration, and dining services were unified and upgraded. In addition to a thorough renovation of the building’s aging interiors, preliminary designs provided new teaching space to replace mobile classrooms and present a fresh, new image for the school. A key goal for the architects was to not only renovate the existing building but to improve and strengthen the connection between the field house and the main school. The result was an improved circulation pattern that linked and integrated each disparate space and building. The architects completely reorganized the portion of the site lying between both structures with a traffic circle, which then became an organizing element in front of the field house. The site was also reworked to enhance walkability; a pedestrian walkway was created to better accommodate foot traffic and encourage safer and more readily supervised movement to and from class.

Inside the building, the previous cafeteria was not only too small to be functional but also unexceptional. The architects remedied this by designing a new commons addition that created an exciting place for students to gather. The two stories high commons adds presence via volume and natural lighting, making it a focal point of the school and a new community asset.

Orange County High School, with a population of approximately 1,200 students, is the sole high school serving the county. The original 1950’s structure has been enlarged several times over the past five decades. Despite construction of a spacious new athletics field house, erected on an adjacent site in 1995, little attention has been paid to the aging high school building. Furthermore, the field house has no relationship to the main building in orientation or style, yet a number of classrooms and physical education facilities that students regularly used were inside the field house. On an hourly basis, a massive amount of foot traffic crosses the roadway and parking areas between the original building and the field house, leaving a significant piece of the educational program disconnected and making supervision very difficult for administrators. This lack of synchronicity among the additions through the years created a scattered sense of student life at the school.

As a first step to restoring order, an intensive programming exercise was conducted to identify needs across disciplines and begin to make sense of how the campus functioned. For example, to reunite the science department and provide modern lab facilities, an addition was built on the west end adjacent to others that were to be renovated. Teachers were also each given office space in specially designed planning rooms to foster better communication and interdisciplinary collaboration. Further, the functionality of the three other core subject areas, fine arts, career and technical education, special education, the administration, and dining services were unified and upgraded. In addition to a thorough renovation of the building’s aging interiors, preliminary designs provided new teaching space to replace mobile classrooms and present a fresh, new image for the school. A key goal for the architects was to not only renovate the existing building but to improve and strengthen the connection between the field house and the main school. The result was an improved circulation pattern that linked and integrated each disparate space and building. The architects completely reorganized the portion of the site lying between both structures with a traffic circle, which then became an organizing element in front of the field house. The site was also reworked to enhance walkability; a pedestrian walkway was created to better accommodate foot traffic and encourage safer and more readily supervised movement to and from class.

Inside the building, the previous cafeteria was not only too small to be functional but also unexceptional. The architects remedied this by designing a new commons addition that created an exciting place for students to gather. The two stories high commons adds presence via volume and natural lighting, making it a focal point of the school and a new community asset.

Client: Orange County Public Schools

Location: Orange, VA

Discipline: Middle & High Schools

Completion: 2004

Size: 135,580 SF Renovation and 11,072 SF Addition

Key Team Members

Awards Received

2004 Award Winner
Virginia School Boards Association