Ballou Senior High School
Square Footage: 356,000 SF
Ballou Senior High School sets a new standard for K-12 education in the District of Columbia. The project was awarded by design competition to a joint venture between Perkins+Will and Bowie Gridley Architects.
A replacement high school, the existing tight urban site presented both challenges and unique opportunities. The steeply sloping grade is the most dominant natural feature; Ballou was designed to complement the sloping site with the main entry floor located at the highest elevation combined with two additional floors that step down the hill. Upon entry, students and visitors are perched above the central two-story dining commons with sweeping views of the entire building as it surrounds an internal and secure courtyard. The new facility was located on the former high school’s football field to allow new construction to proceed while the original school remained occupied.
The design incorporates a “Hall of Fame” showcased along the School’s Main Street concept as a symbol celebrating Ballou’s history and achievements. Ballou’s Main Street features the major programs: administration, arts, athletics, academy entrances, student services, and cafeteria. Core academic spaces are organized into five distinct academies that each have classrooms, flexible multi-use rooms, a television studio, and computer and science labs.
Targeted for LEED Gold, Ballou’s design includes enhanced energy-saving features and undulating floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing large expanses of natural light into the public and learning spaces. The new school exemplifies Ballou’s goals of creating a facility that not only promotes student success, but represents a facility serving as a community asset. Generous common spaces promote collaboration for a 21st Century interdisciplinary curriculum and scholastic learning environment for 1,400 students, while a high-tech performing arts theater, athletic and fitness complex, auto-tech lab, health center, day care center and library have been positioned for easy community access. A separate and distinct entrance for the STAY Program’s 900 adult-learners demonstrates Ballou’s commitment to connections with the community.