This 166,400 square-foot new facility supports a student population of 850, with possible expansion to 1,100. The school’s design, which included Fanning Howey Architects, was strongly influenced by beautiful Mendenhall Valley site. A river metaphor organized the site and parking configuration, with a flow to the primary entry. The entry and adjoining free-form Commons space provides extensive southern exposure, with inviting covered exterior space and landscaping for student use.
The northern side of the building is focused on the library, with dramatic views of the Mendenhall Glacier and surrounding mountains. Finally, each of the academic wings is capped with a smaller “academic commons” with views overlooking the Mendenhall River. These smaller Commons spaces provide a flexible space and socializing atmosphere, an important element of a more intimate scale for each of the four academic quadrants, and a key contributor to student success.
The project includes a high-quality auditorium space, with excellent acoustics, site lines, and technical capacities. This space included special bond funding to support both student and community use.