Boys School Celebrates New Wing

CENTERBROOK, Conn. – University School, a prestigious all boys high school in Ohio, will cut the ceremonial ribbon on September 21 for a new 52,000-square-foot academic wing at its Hunting Valley Campus. Designed by Centerbrook Architects, the building is the first phase of the largest building program in the school’s 122-year history and increases its academic space by 62 percent.

“This spectacular new building honors the high caliber of our faculty and gives them the teaching tools they need to do their best work,” said University School Headmaster Steve Murray. “Boys now have room to move, interact and explore. Teachers can instruct among their students and have the flexibility to arrange classrooms to best suit their disciplines and teaching styles.”

Slated for LEED silver for its energy efficiency and responsible use of resources, the facility houses: 25 classrooms for history, math, English, and foreign languages; classroom-lab suites for physics, biology, and chemistry; a three-room environmental science suite and a special-projects lab; and even an outdoor classroom. Classrooms are outfitted with interactive technology.

Sited on a peninsula overlooking Lake Kilroy and the forest beyond, the building has a windowed south wall that harvests natural light and solar heat. Myriad environmentally friendly features include a lake-source geothermal system for heating and cooling, super insulation, an interior design that takes advantage of the moderating properties of thermal mass, and green roofs. Bioswales collect and filter storm water.

“The school has a long tradition of craft-making, of students making things with their hands,” said Centerbrook Partner Mark Simon, FAIA, who led a design team with Project Manager Russell Learned and Associate Katie Roden, both AIA. “So the building is designed to use exposed materials that show how the various pieces fit together and how they contribute to function. These visible elements transform the building into an education tool. Incidentally, the builders loved this approach because it so clearly exhibited their craftsmanship.”

In an email to the architect, Headmaster Murray wrote: “People are absolutely blown away by the building – they just cannot get over it. It has been so much fun giving tours lately – their jaws just drop. In the words of one very excited colleague: ‘This is a whole new school!’”