Originally built in the late 1960’s, Ashland High School is a perfect example of design trends gone wrong. Focusing only on energy savings and “flexibility” instead of its occupants, AHS was built with white demountable walls, which were never moved, and with hardly any windows to allow in natural daylight. When the District Administration decided it was time to go to referendum to improve their facilities, they surveyed the students and very quickly three top priorities were created: improve HVAC systems to have consistent temperatures throughout the facility, gain natural light, and finally introduce colors to the classrooms and throughout the facility. SDS was hired following a successful referendum in April of 2016 and immediately set out to make AHS a facility that the students could be proud of.
Due to a tight site and the schools parking locations, a new addition will be added to the schools south side. This addition will feature a new, distinct entry, welcoming visitors to the facility; a major contrast from their current hidden entry. Through the new secure entry, the front office of the school will be relocated in the addition with ample views to the parking lot to monitor visitors as they approach. The schools commons will also be relocated to the addition. The commons serves as the schools cafeteria and as a breakout space between events held in their competition gym and fieldhouse. Terrazzo flooring will be installed in the shape of Lake Superior, with their district logo marking Ashlands geographic location on the lake.
The new fieldhouse will feature a 200-meter track surrounded by a curved glass wall, partially exterior and partially interior. This wall will allow natural light into the fieldhouse as well as a visitors viewing space from the commons.
The schools current commons will be partially converted to their Charter school space. The remaining area will still serve as a commons and breakout space for their school auditorium and as a museum in school with large display cases throughout. The current office will be transformed into the schools mental health area, which brings mental health professionals from the community into the schools to provide counseling services.
A major transformation of the school is in the north academic area. By eliminating one corridor and moving classrooms around, a new IMC will be created in the central hub of this wing. The IMC’s roof will be vaulted up an additional ten feet, and clearstory windows will allow natural light to flood the space. Central classrooms which surround the IMC will also have clearstory windows, allowing borrowed light into these rooms. Additionally, four flexible learning spaces will be created in this north academic space. These flex spaces will also have raised ceiling heights and skylights to allow natural light into the schools core.