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.

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.

Jesup W. Scott High School Renovation

Originally built in 1913, Jesup W. Scott High School has endured to become an icon in the City of Toledo’s Historical West End District. The SSOE led renovation ensured preservation
of the historic landmark in the Old West End of Toledo, giving the facility a face-lift and adding modern technology to create a modern school in a timeless structure.

The renovation of the facility re-used much of the demolished material from the project, including the quarry-tile flooring. New electrical and mechanical systems, lighting schemes, and low-flow plumbing add to the energy management system providing extra cost savings. Installation of new replacement windows were installed to match the historical aesthetic of the facility. The exterior of the facility was updated with a white reflective roof and the terra cotta stone was cleaned, preserving the early 20th century look.

The renovation not only protects the school’s historical presence and restored to its original grandeur, but also updates the institution for today’s students. This project received a design award from AIA Toledo for the renovation of the Jesup W. Scott High School.

Ronald E. McNair Middle School Replacement

Project-Based Immersive Learning

The Ronald E. McNair Middle School is Fulton County Schools’ first example of a facility design based on the principles of project-based immersive learning. By introducing immersive learning concepts and further developing district-specific ideas originally presented in a two-day charrette, Stevens & Wilkinson and immersive learning consultant, LITTLE, transformed the conventional wing design of their previous middle schools into groups of instructional spaces organized as “neighborhoods.”

Interconnected Neighborhoods

Individual classrooms and science labs in each wing were reconfigured into three distinct yet interconnected neighborhoods, also known as learning communities. The redesign allows teachers to interact with more than one class at a time, evoking a greater sense of community and communication between learning areas. Students can remain in their neighborhoods for the better part of a school day, freely circulating between productive spaces designed for class, labs, and teamwork.

Collaborative Spaces

The neighborhood includes four connected classroom areas and a workshop / lab, along with a series of adjoining collaborative spaces for individual study, small group activities, and a tiered lecture space. In addition, a strategically located teacher planning area is at the center of the neighborhood.

New Design For Upcoming Middle Schools

The outcome of this effective immersive learning design has proven so successful for the McNair Middle School that the same design principles were developed for a series of middle school additions in a separate part of the district.


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.

CATE Center

New CATE Center Design

SSOE, in association with WBE-based firm, Red Iron Architects, worked with Jasper County School District on the design of the district’s new Career and Technical Education (CATE) Center. The center now serves the district’s new and existing high school students.

Introducing Students To New Trades & Workforce Development Skills

The CATE Center, which is connected to Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School, provides a unique program that introduces students to profitable trades and skills that can be used to enhance their future. The center accommodates programs for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); health science; information technology (IT); and transportation, distribution, and logistics.

Building highlights include Health and Biomedical labs, STEM labs, flexible classrooms, computer, and logistics-focused classrooms, makerspace, state-of-the-art culinary program, and more. The building’s large central area is used as break-out space for the adjacent classrooms and laboratories, large project space, exhibition space, robotic competitions, and/or a meeting area for career fairs.

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.

New Elementary Schools

When faced with the need for new elementary schools, Fremont City Schools selected the team of SSOE / Munger for design. The seven existing elementary schools will be demolished and consolidated onto the four existing sites of Atkinson, Croghan, Lutz, and Otis. Each new Pre-K through 5th grade building will be constructed while the existing elementary schools are occupied with classes. The new facilities will be 58,460 SF in size and were designed to meet LEED Silver certification requirements.

Led by SSOE, the four elementary projects have the exact same floor plan, with two of the schools mirrored on their sites to better facilitate parking and bus lanes. The duplication of floor plans provides each student in the district with the same experience, allows staff to transfer from one building to another easily, and provides ease for facility maintenance and First Responders. The designs are focused on student centered learning environments, with first through fifth grades each having their classrooms surrounded by a learning studio. Pre-K and Kindergarten areas are connected with internal doorways to enable team teaching and access within classroom areas. These spaces are sized to accommodate artistic, small group reading, and other early development learning. The studio will be utilized for shared learning, special activities, and house the students’ storage cubbies, freeing the classrooms for dedicated learning spaces.

Another key facility feature is the Learning Commons, positioned on the second level as an open extension of the corridor. This colorful area will provide students various options for learning and includes soft, tiered seating for group discussions or individual study, a teaming area with table top outlets for tablet / device charging, a Makerspace, active movement seating, in addition to books and other learning resources for the students. Services provided by SSOE for this project include project management, programming, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and construction administration. During the interviewing process, the SSOE team proposed an accelerated design schedule that allowed construction on the elementary schools to begin a year earlier than originally planned by the district. Construction is currently underway and the new elementary schools will be open for classes for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. This $58 million project is the single largest one-time project in the history of Sandusky County.

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.

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