Benjamin E. Mays High School
As part of Atlanta Public Schools’ high school transformation program, the 340,000 square foot Benjamin E. Mays High School has been completely renovated to house four new career-based academies. The facility’s existing spaces before the renovation/expansion were extremely dark and uninviting. Our challenge was to open up the school, give it a sense of order, and provide natural light in all the learning spaces.
With the gym and auditorium remaining in place, the major classroom areas were stripped down to their structure and exterior skin. The central core of the school was completely demolished and replaced with a 2-story media center, a 2-story cafeteria, and science rooms. The new media center and new cafeteria front on renovated interior courtyards which let natural light penetrate deep into these spaces.
Additionally, the existing entry lobby was replaced with a bright, new transparent entry. The roof of the new construction is raised above the existing roof, providing clerestory windows that further transform the interior of the school into a bright, daylighted space. The natural light, in addition to its benefits on learning, significantly lowers expenses by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
The school’s new design demonstrates how an aged building can be transformed into a modern learning facility that the community, teachers, and students can be proud of. This facility is transformational for the Mays community and has been accomplished at a much lower financial and environmental cost than building a whole new school.