Clear Creek New High School
The Clear Creek Amana School District—one of the fastest growing districts in the state of Iowa—was in need of a new high school to serve its growing student population. The new facility would serve grades 9 through 12 and based on growth projections should be built initially for 600 students. It also needed to be planned for expansion of up to 1,200 in the near future. Administrators, teachers, school board and community members alike desired a facility that reflected the latest in educational thinking, technology and sustainable design. A key goal of the district is to prepare their student to be life-long learners in both collaborative and individual environments.
The needs of this generation of Iowa high school students guided the design process throughout. Curriculum is evolving, allowing students to explore their interests and to discover how they best learn. This often involves individual study and group collaborations in addition to the traditional classroom setting. The new high school provides a number of traditional classrooms and science rooms, but the rooms are sized and technologically prepped to allow a number of different learning formats. There are also a number of different sized spaces, with different types of furnishings, throughout the academic wing where students can study individually, study collaboratively or collaborate on long term projects. Key to this flexibility is a student’s ability to access the district’s network from anywhere in and even near the facility.
To address future growth, the facility was designed with a compact core of support facilities to serve a population of 1,200 students. Radiating from this core are three wings—academic, physical education and performing arts—which were constructed to serve an initial population of 600 students. Space was then planned on the site for each of the three wings and the parking lot to grow when needed.
Designed using the sustainable principals of LEED, the facility is heated and cooled by a geothermal field. All occupied spaces have access to ample natural light and all lighting is high efficiency controlled by occupancy sensors. All building materials are durable, easy to maintain and recyclable.
The new high school is prepared to meet the district’s growth needs for the foreseeable future. Designed using sustainable principles the facility operates at almost 50% less than comparable buildings in the district and qualified for a substantial rebate from the utility company. And after a 5.3 year payback period, the 50% reduction in operating costs will save the district for the life of the building. Designed to provide a sustainable environment that is flexible and adaptable to an evolving curriculum, the new high school is prepared to meet the needs of this generation and those well beyond.