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image Project: Barberton High School

Barberton High School

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Architect Narrative

In a partnership between city and school district, the new high school, in an industrial city, symbolizes the community’s dedication to quality education for all students and inclusion of citizens of all ages. The facility is extremely successful due to the use of a comprehensive planning process that included teachers, administrators and community education leaders. Small teams of support staff members were established to identify and develop the many unique programs and to plan the ancillary parts of the building. The planning team also involved the city administrative departments and police and fire officials.

A commitment to use by the community is apparent in the layout of the building with an 810-seat performing arts theatre, 600-seat cafeteria/commons, a 2.300-seat gymnasium with 500 chair-back seats, and a field house with running track, weight and exercise rooms. All public areas are clustered to the north end of the building complex and are easily separated from the academic areas. Exterior materials of the school capture the character of the City’s historical landmarks.

Courtyards in academic and public areas encourage social gathering and provide natural light. Central to the classrooms, and readily available to the public, is the media center that features the latest technology.

The vocational wing is designed to serve not only the traditional high school population, but to accommodate a variety of programs for personalized learning for individuals of all ages. A tiered Large Group Instruction Room is the transition between the academic and vocational areas. The technical wing consists of the following: Family Consumer Sciences; Industrial Arts, Applied Technology Classroom designed to instruct students in a variety of modern industrial vocations; Visual Arts; Machine Trades; Cosmetology labs; Graphic Arts; Criminal Justice; OWE/OWA designed to meet the work needs of the students; Marketing; Business Education with computer labs used by local industries for upgrading and training employees; CISCO which is a two-year program designed to prepare students for immediate employment in computer networking and repair.

A social center for students and the community, the commons area serves as a foyer to the school’s performing arts theatre, a gymnasium and field house. Alongside the cafeteria/commons a landscaped courtyard connects the front and rear entrances of the school flooding the area with natural light.

Every space in the building is supported with computer technology including a Distance Learning Lab that enables the School district to engage in live audio and video links throughout the world. The security system is video intensive and consists of 42 interior and exterior camera locations that record activities 24 hours a day.

As the school is in an urban area with a scarcity of land options, the site selected is located near the high school stadium. Soil tests indicated very poor soil for construction, however, a cost analysis of the special foundation work required revealed that it was comparable
to the cost of acquiring land that was not centrally located. A unique geothermal heating and cooling system was designed that has proved to be an efficient climate control system.

Educator Narrative

Our beautiful facility represents the community’s enormous commitment to quality educational opportunities for citizens of all ages with spaces designed to the highest standards of quality and function. It was built to accommodate a variety of programs and to welcome and encourage citizen participation in the many exciting educational and entertainment events offered.

This project, that has energized the City, has been a team effort all the way. The City’s administration and planning department, police and fire officials, community organizations, students, and Board of Education teamed together with school personnel and the architect to create a variety of social and learning areas that reflect the ideals of our community.

There is a direct correlation with the new building that replaces an 85-year old facility and students’ improvement to their highest level of performance to date in 2003. This improvement enabled the district to be upgraded to the State’s “Continuous Improvement” category for the first time. Since the school was completed, the district has improved its performance by a total aggregate of 234.7%.

The academic classrooms are designed to provide an environment that allows maximum flexibility for the future programming. Facilities are included for performing arts, special education, languages, science, unified arts, math/computer, and vocational related areas. A centrally located media center is the hub of the instructional program and features the latest in technology.

Serving students and the community, the vocational wing features a variety of programs for personalized learning for individuals of all ages and includes real world opportunites such as: industrial machine trades, cosmetology, graphic arts, criminal justice, marketing, and business education labs used for instruction and by local industries. The graphic arts was planned to house a Heidelberg GTO press and an industrial strength paper cutter. In the cosmetology department are two labs and a reception desk equipped with phones to facilitate appointment scheduling with the community.

A tiered, large group instruction room is busy in the evening with community group meetings and performances. Separate entrances provide access to the cafeteria/commons, performing arts theatre, gymnasium and field house while isolating academic areas during evenings and weekends. Examples of use by citizens of the City include: the Performing Arts Center with performances in conjunction with the City and local University, seasonal City concerts, Kiwanis Lecture Series, Travelog Series, etc. The caferteria/commons, a social center for our students and citizens, hosts retiree luncheons, PTA Dinners, local hospital meetings and levy campaigns. Because citizens and students take pride in their sports teams, the City’s Parks and Recreation Commission maximizes the use of the school’s athletic facilities. Our college-size gymnasium with seating for 2,300 features 500 comfortable chair-back seats and a jumbo sized professional scoreboard suspended from the ceiling with video and replay.

Practically every space in the school is supported with computer technology. A unique geothermal heating and cooling system has proven to be an efficient climate control system. Our video intensive security system that monitors activities 24 hours a day has proven successful in lowering vandalism and anti-social behavior.

Recognized Value Award 2003


High School

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