In February 2013, Pullman School District passed a bond for a major reconstruction and partial renovation of their high school. The existing facility suffers from substantial functional, energy, code and safety deficiencies, with 80 doors in multiple buildings. Targeting a design of 180,000 square feet and a capacity for 1,000 students, Pullman High School has an estimated construction cost of $47 million. Phased construction of the occupied campus is scheduled to begin in August of 2014 and be completed early in 2017.
In contrast to the existing school, the circulation and organization of the new school will be extremely clear and almost immediately evident. The plan is organized by a central circulation spine that runs the length of the school on three levels. The school’s commons is part of this circulation path and becomes a central social gathering space for the school. The new facility will have two main entries at each end of the spine, along with adequate secure emergency exit doors to vastly improve security. Three classroom wings are connected to the central spine in an east-west orientation that is optimal for daylighting and sunlight control. At the end of each classroom wing are collaboration spaces that offer spectacular views over the stadium and beyond.
Integration with the context of the Palouse hills is a major influence in the design. The exterior of the new school will be expressed with very simple massing terracing up the hill. The roof of the central circulation spine is a slightly lower element with a curved form over the main entry reminiscent of the rolling Palouse hills. Exterior materials are predominately earth-toned masonry articulated to mimic the lines and textures present in the surrounding landscape. Masonry with a darker earth tone and a subtle sheen will appear in select areas similar to the basalt outcroppings common in the region. Formation of the design concept derived from the Palouse landscape will create a school with an aesthetic that is unique to Pullman.