David T. Howard Middle School

SSOE completed the redesign and historic rehabilitation of the empty David T. Howard School, once attended by notable African American luminaries such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., into a modern middle school in the heart of Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

The $52 million project, which began in early 2017, includes an administrative wing based on an originally designed element that was never built, a four-level classroom addition, media center, auditorium, music wing, and kitchen and cafeteria.

The design team’s approach focused on the existing plan diagram to ensure the building’s historic features were maintained. The new addition connects to the existing building with elements that keep the existing building’s brick visible and joins all the building’s components.

The school is a four-story concrete frame building with brick cladding. The floor plan is a simple “U” shape with corridors connecting the classroom wings. The main entrances along the bottom of the “U” are also identified by decorative brick and stone details. The existing classroom building reflects the original layout as much as possible, and the new classroom wing consists of core, science, and music classrooms; the kitchen and cafeteria; and an auditorium.

SSOE designed a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC system with 100% outdoor air for the classroom portions of the building, including the historic building. The VRF system allowed the design team to minimize ductwork in the classrooms and maintain the existing high ceilings in the historic classrooms and corridors. Because the VRF outdoor units weigh less than conventional systems, the design team was able to minimize structural modifications to the historic building, saving cost and time. The areas served by VRF are paired with packaged roof top dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) with energy recovery. The new DOAS and VRF HVAC systems designed for the project will save energy over the years to come and contribute to an optimal indoor environmental quality for the students and staff and give each space served the ability to control space environmental conditions.

Dana Advanced Manufacturing
Training Center

Having extensive international manufacturing experience combined with nationwide higher education experience made SSOE the right choice for Owens Community College for the design of their new Dana Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. SSOE’s manufacturing facility design experts worked closely with our higher education team and the client to incorporate the latest manufacturing trends into Owen’s new real-world training center. We have worked on thousands of industrial projects and kept pace with this dynamic industry by working alongside experts in the field. The application of the knowledge we have gained resulted in the delivery of a teaching and training facility that truly reflects today’s manufacturing environments. Simulation of real-world working environments allows students to be prepared for success as they complete their courses and enter the workforce.

This project included the renovation of an existing high bay building into an advanced manufacturing education and workforce training facility. The facility includes seven classrooms for training and education, five computer labs, hydraulic / pneumatic lab, two mechanical labs, three electrical labs, a robotics lab, pipefitting lab, four building trade labs, group project space, storage for tools and supplies, and offices spaces. The training center houses approximately $3-$4 million worth of advanced manufacturing equipment. Also included in the project is site development to include 100-200 new parking spaces adjacent to the building. The building’s entire mechanical system was also evaluated and updated as needed to fit the project’s needs.

SSOE performed architecture, civil, structural, electrical, mechanical and plumbing engineering, fire protection, technology, communications, security design, interior design, and loose furnishings design.

King Springs Elementary School

New School Featuring District’s Innovative Programming Standards

The King Springs Elementary School is a 67 Instructional Unit replacement school that is located on the same site as the former school. The program is based on Cobb County Schools’ standards and includes Pre-K, Kindergarten, Primary (Grades 1-3), and Intermediate (Grades 4-5) classrooms, as well as a Media Center (Learning Commons Area), cafeteria/kitchen, gymnasium, and art and music programs.

Reducing the Footprint to Work with Existing Site  

Due to the limited area of the existing campus, the new design is configured with a three-level main classroom element that both reduces the footprint as well as works with the existing site topography. Site amenities include two play areas as well as a separate play field, separate parent and bus parking, and queuing areas.

New Hall County Campus

New 96-Acre Campus

Located on a 96-acre site in Northeast Georgia, SSOE is working with prime design professional Pond and Lanier Technical College on their new Hall County Campus. Construction will take place over a three-year period and will include six new buildings, associated surface parking, and related site amenities. The new 325,000 SF replacement campus is slated to achieve two out of three peaches from the state of Georgia’s sustainable design grading program.


Campus Vision and Project Goals: The new vision for the Lanier Technical College site will be to provide a 21st Century campus for education, continuing education, and workforce development training opportunities over various programs.

Programming Project Goals

To date, the following project goals / objectives were identified: 1) Create a “cutting edge” campus that fits into the architectural vernacular of the community; 2) Integrate student life activities throughout each new facility on campus; 3) Create a campus that will become a showplace for economic development; 4) Incorporate spaces for future growth; and 5) Create buildings that are distinctive in character and that will promote student success via a nurturing campus environment that will become “the place to be” for students, staff, community, and industry partners to work, learn, and expand workforce opportunities. In addition to the Campus Support facilities, Technology & Industrial Education and Allied Health, SSOE is specifically focused on the following projects.

Administration & Student Success Center

Viewed as the new “iconic front door” to the campus, the Administration and Student Success Building will be comprised of the Office of the President, Student Services, and Student Life – each requiring a unique, responsive, and dynamic facility solution. The goal of the building is to create a high-quality supportive learning environment that prepares students to enter the workforce and will be the first stop for each person on campus. Entry roads, parking, directional signage, and iconic design will reinforce the college’s message that “Great Careers Begin Here.”

Student Affairs and Bursar functions will also be located to maximize opportunities for student reception and engagement. A “one stop shop” concept for customer service will be incorporated for student services, while a large and spacious circulation concourse will feature soft seating and information kiosks that will reinforce student access, utilization, and connection to services for advisement, financial aid, counseling, and placement.

Instructional Building

The new Instructional Building will house the General Education, Adult Education, Business and Computer Technology, and Early Childhood Development programs. The building will feature numerous integrated technology classrooms / labs, studios, and small and large group areas all designed around problem-based learning (PBL), team-based learning (TBL), and a student-centered active learning environment with evolving pedagogies.

Conference Center

The new Conference Center will feature a 225-seat auditorium, 10,000 SF Exhibit Hall, Testing Center, Culinary Arts Facility, and break-out classrooms. To encourage the development of a “community of learning,” collaborative study zones, magnet spaces, and student spaces will be located in the Conference Center and across campus to allow students to wither work in teams, study or, simply, relax.

Mountain View Elementary School Replacement

Two-Level Elementary School

 Mountain View Elementary School is a 144,000-square foot two-level facility that is replacing the district’s existing elementary school.

Upgraded Instructional Units

The elementary school expanded to 63 instructional units, 53 of those for Kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms. Other instructional units include a cafeteria and kitchen, gymnasium, media center, two computer labs, two art labs, and two music labs.

16-Acre Site

The replacement school is nestled on a 16-acre site which includes parking for 155 cars, a separate queuing area for buses and car pick-up, a playfield with track, two playgrounds, and two play courts.

Oxford College Student Center

Social Heart Of Campus

The Oxford Student Center (OSC) is the new social heart of Emory University’s original campus located in Oxford, GA. Serving as the new home of campus life activities and as the new front door to the campus, the project creates a welcoming entrance, an authentic Oxford College first impression for prospective students and the Oxford Community, all centered around student activity. Thoughtful attention to details, lighting, colors, scale, materials, and furniture supports student success and activities, projecting the college’s diversity, overarching excellence, and leadership in academic, research, stainability, and technology.

Timeless Story Telling

The project consisted of the renovation of a recently replaced mid-century dining hall (20,000 SF), a two-level addition (12,000 SF), and site improvements integrating the project into existing pathways and plazas. The OSC fosters first-year student engagement and second-year student leadership through collaborative student organization space that supports the 90+ student organizations on campus, a multipurpose forum created from the original dining room, a cafe, a bookstore, social lounges, gaming “hot spot” and Campus Life offices. The design solution promotes the students’ sense of ownership and belonging, a place they are comfortable using, changing, and shaping to work for them.

In addition to supporting student success and building community the project champions sustainability and environmental stewardship. The design optimizes building energy performance through energy-saving systems and strategies (chilled beams, LED lighting) utilizing the existing building infrastructure, orientation, and the site to the greatest extent. The OSC should achieve a reduction of nearly 30% in energy consumption (vs. ASHRAE 90.1-2010) targeting an annual EUI below 60 (consuming 59.33 kBtu/SF/yr) with over 40% reduction in water consumption.

A Note From American School & Universities Jury Member

“Nice introduction of colors against the contextual wood and tile. Maintains a sophisticated aesthetic while being inviting. Appropriate scale with a variety of spaces and gathering sizes. A casual and relaxed atmosphere where any student would feel at home.”

Entrepreneur and Innovations Institute Renovation and Addition

Creating a facility poised from the start to attract talent and produce workers with relevant skillsets now and into the future is the goal of Henry Ford College (HFC) with their expanded Entrepreneur and Innovation Institute / Technology Building. HFC worked with SSOE to create spaces that fuel innovation and entrepreneurship. The Student Commons, a destination space, links the existing spaces to new. The inspiring design allows students informal areas for networking, collaborating, and impromptu learning. The renovation includes spaces for teaming, hands-on learning, and fostering the spirit of “out of the box thinking.”

The project includes the renovation of existing classrooms and lab spaces as well as the addition of 24,000 SF of new space in the Technology Building. Upgrades will include structure, envelope, interior finishes, HVAC, lighting, electrical, and plumbing. This project will allow for continued renovations initiated in 2015 and has a total estimated budget of $14.9 million.

HFC’s 24,000 SF addition will create multi-disciplinary labs, including a new Makerspace / Innovation Hub, automotive labs, as well as the Entrepreneurship and Business Skills Center needed to support changing programs and curricula, the regional demand for workforce training, and business and industry partnership initiatives.

This new construction will also improve building and program access and internal circulation, while addressing the lack of breakout / collaborative workspaces critical for student success. Lastly, the addition will house a new campus Energy Plant to support the college’s goal of a Net Zero campus. SSOE will work closely with HFC’s energy partners, Johnson Controls and Garforth International, to integrate the College’s $23.1 million Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) into this project.

Several of the programs and physical spaces that will be positively impacted by this project include the Transportation / Automotive Technology Program, the HFC Fabrication Lab, Product Development Center (“Makerspace”), Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business Skills Center, HFC Advanced Manufacturing Early College, and improved learning spaces in the Technology Building. These upgrades continue to reinforce HFC’s mission of transforming lives and building better futures by providing outstanding education.

Districtwide Facility Rebuild

Continuing our partnership with the Anthony Wayne Local Schools district, SSOE transformed the priorities established during the master planning phase into design solutions across the district’s four campuses. The main campus, which includes Anthony Wayne High School, Anthony Wayne Junior High School, and Fallen Timbers Middle School, received overall facility improvements, upgraded security vestibules and visitor entries, a new high school office addition to make room for three new science rooms, and a media center addition at the junior high. The new high school auxiliary gym and cafeteria addition are adjacent to a new commons area that incorporates storefront windows that allow interior access to daylight. This space will be used by students daily as well as for public events.

The elementary schools also received upgrades. Monclova Elementary School received a new security vestibule and office addition, classroom modifications, and infrastructure improvements for energy efficiency. Waterville Elementary School upgrades included a new security vestibule / office renovation, new four-classroom addition for kindergarten students, and renovation of the daycare program’s office space. Whitehouse Elementary School received a new 70,000 SF facility on the same site as the existing elementary school. The architectural design included repurposing stone elements from the original building into the new facility to carry forward the community’s history. This facility also includes a storm shelter and new playground.

All upgrades focused on student and staff safety, including the site designs, which were updated for bus circulation, parent / visitor and student parking, and parent drop-off to reduce congestion and increase student safety. SSOE also worked closely with the district’s operations personnel to increase energy efficiency with the improvements.

Classroom designs included learning communities, active learning spaces with grade-specific media materials and collaborative areas for teachers and students. The science labs were designed and laid out for 21st-century teaching and learning. Existing education spaces were updated with new technology, and traditional classrooms were opened up into multipurpose student-centered learning spaces.

Excellence Training Center

SSOE worked with Youngstown State University for the creation of a living / learning R&D Excellence Training Center (ETC) that serves as an advanced manufacturing education, workforce training facility, and incubator factory. It houses a welding, machining CNC, automation and fluids training labs, high-bay workspace, metals and 3D printing, secure group project space, classrooms, and a workroom space. The ETC opened in Fall 2021 and houses approximately $5.5 million worth of advanced manufacturing equipment. The development of the ETC required the renovation of an existing building and addition to the facility on a downtown campus while maintaining project specific and ITAR security regulations.

SSOE worked with YSU faculty and staff, MVICC members, and Eastern Gateway Community College to develop detailed bid documents for repairs, renovation, and new construction. The
project site is located both on the edge of YSU’s campus and in Youngstown’s downtown area. This location provides access to the varied groups that will utilize the facility including
Youngstown’s downtown community. The building’s architecture takes inspiration from the existing urban context and neighboring campus buildings to create a common aesthetic statement. This project is also partially funded with an EDA Grant, for which SSOE provided the necessary documents. SSOE’s design also included provisions and concepts for future expansion(s) to the facility, as this is Phase I of a multi-Phase 100,000+ SF master plan created as part of the project’s planning and design.

Utilization of our significant manufacturing industry experience allowed our design team to lead the YSU design committee through the design process by helping them create a real-life simulated advanced manufacturing environment. We were able to utilize our knowledge of plant and process design and apply it into the manufacturing educational design, which will ultimately allow students to be completely prepared to enter real manufacturing environments upon program completion.

Central High School Renovations & Additions

The project consisted of phased demolition, renovation, and construction of a new 1600 student comprehensive high school complex to accommodate grades nine through twelve at the existing Columbia Central High School site location. Core elements are designed for an enrollment of 1800 students to allow for future expansion.

Being the only operational high school serving Columbia, TN, the Central High School project posed a unique challenge. The school needed to be replaced in place, while students remained in session during the entirety of construction activity. The existing main school buildings were demolished with the exception of the existing ROTC building / auxiliary gymnasium, the classroom building (1997 metal building), and the vocational building. The portable storage and classroom buildings were removed and the existing vocational building was renovated to accommodate the modified career-technical program (26,500 SF).

New construction consisted of a two-story building of approximately 147,265 SF for academic core and shared career-technical program. Auxiliary spaces, which include auditorium, cafeteria / kitchen, music program, and gymnasiums, were connected to the main academic building via corridor extension. The auxiliary portion of the new school complex is single level, totaling approximately 96,746 SF. Site design included separate drop-off areas for school buses and cars, walkways, pedestrian courtyards, landscaping, and off-street parking.

Design intent was to reference the original 1939 Central High School (traditional aesthetic). The main two-story academic building at the front of the site reflects this style through proportion and material selection. As you move around the building, technology and modern design become apparent, representing the future (use of metal panel and modern rectilinear profiles). The proposed design incorporated passive security measures through controlled entry / egress, controlled public access, limiting travel distances and visual observation.

Larimer Athletic Complex Master Planning

SSOE was tasked with renovating the existing football team facility (the Larimer Athletic Complex is a two-story, 32,000 GSF facility that was constructed in 1990) to create a more functional facility for the coaches and players alike. SSOE’s approach was to carefully place additions around the facility that would not only increase the size of the facility but aid in creating a new aesthetic. This aesthetic would enrich the facility from its two halves – athletic and academic, and assist in recruiting efforts.

The new weight room and office spaces required additional HVAC design. Heating and cooling of the existing and new areas were not from the existing chiller and boiler systems in the building, but rather from the campus site utilities. Therefore, the mechanical room became the point of interface of the campus chilled water primary / secondary system, tying into the building tertiary chilled water system. Additionally, the campus steam and condensate system fed a new steam to hot water heat exchange, utilizing a condensate receiver and motive (steam pressure-powered) pump.

Entry to the facility is through a new arched stone tower and display lobby with a grand staircase and memorabilia displays. History walls, graphics, and physical memorabilia are displayed throughout the renovated facility. The displays are architectural features with rich materials and interesting lighting that present recruits, families of recruits, and current players with a rich heritage of Rocket Football highlights.

Stratford STEM High School Renovation

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Public Schools (MNPS) selected SSOE to lead the $20 million renovation of Stratford STEM High School, which can house up to 1200 full time students in grades 9-12. This school is a 236,653 SF building located on a 30 acre site. The site includes a baseball field, football field with a practice area, and ample parking.

MNPS’s goals for this project are for it to be an energy efficient, healthy environment for its students, and to be a high performance structure, both inside and out, with an achievement of LEED® Silver certification. The project was designed in Revit as a 3D model with a focus on a modern and functional learning environment, updating it from its late 1960’s design. MNPS sought a design that creates a warm and inviting setting that is open to the students and community, yet has a modern approach to a 21st Century Learning Environment. Openness and flexibility are maximized for current and future educational needs. The project was a complete renovation, including replacement of all mechanical and electrical systems, windows, finishes, alteration of the main entry, kitchen, band room, and the addition of a connecting corridor to the STEM area.

A few sustainable highlights of the project include the reuse of existing walls, floors, and roof, the incorporation of recycled and regional construction materials, water efficient landscaping, water use reduction, and optimized energy performance. In addition, the facility earned credit for developing density and community connectivity, having options for alternative transportation, such as access to public transportation, bicycle storage racks, and changing rooms, as well as designated parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. The renovation was awarded LEED Silver certification.

SSOE provided LEED consulting, architectural design, interior design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering services.

Maplewood Elementary School

The new Maplewood Elementary School replaces a 1920s, three story K-5 facility that was in deteriorating condition, lacked accessibility, was undersized in total, and was expensive to maintain and operate. It’s presence in the community and the neighborhood closely knit around it, was going to be truly missed in terms of its scale and articulated historical design. The new facility had to fill this void and replace it with a new presence, twice the size, that still respected scale, community, and function along with being highly efficient in terms of energy costs and operation.

This criteria influenced a very efficient heating and cooling system, incorporating a field of geothermal wells under the sport fields in conjunction with a high level of individual control at the heat pumps serving the individual classrooms and spaces throughout the building. All classrooms and occupied spaces were provided with daylight views. Advantage was taken of south- faced glazing for maximizing daylighting in these classrooms with automated control of artificial light. The extensive list of valued added sustainable features is noted below.

The building aesthetically drew upon the cues from the community and the existing building. Elements included rebuilding stone pineapple reliefs replicated from the old building and incorporation of colors and materials from the original.

Sustainable Value Based Design

  • High efficiency lighting system and integrated daylight control
  • Daylight/views from all occupiable spacers
  • Operable windows
  • Anti-microbial finishes and low VOC materials and sustainable floor finishes
  • Sustainable site concepts with storm water control/detention systems
  • Geothermal well field with locally controlled heat pump zones
  • White membrane/reflective roof surface
  • Durable low maintenance finishes

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation at BGSU

Rightsizing the overall square footage of the building, plus a lean delivery method, resulted in savings of approximately $900,000 in contingencies.

SSOE was selected to assist Bowling Green State University and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office / Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) for the design of a new 28,330 SF structure to house BCI’s regional offices, operations, and criminal labs in Northwest Ohio.

Included in the scope of the project was the design of administration and investigation offices, firing range, forensic labs, evidence storage space, public access seminar and conference rooms, security and surveillance, A/V design, redundant electrical and HVAC systems, site amenities, and parking. MWL Design Group teamed with SSOE for this project, providing the forensic design expertise essential for BCI operations and activities.

SSOE was able to provide all design services in-house, with a single point of contact for the client. Services provided include: architectural, interior design, structural, landscape architecture, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design. Additionally, SSOE provided specialty design services that included: access control, IT / technology, A/V, and security. Lean project delivery principles were also utilized throughout the process, including collaboration with the construction manager from the onset of the project. The project was completed on schedule, below budget, and earned LEED® Silver Certification.