The new 1,005-pupil Plymouth South High School is a comprehensive high school that is recognized nationally as a model for how academic and vocational learning can be combined to allow students to achieve the very highest of academic and vocational standards. In fact, Plymouth South High School test scores exceed those of many purely academic high schools in the Commonwealth.
The school contains programs such as Hospitality and Tourism, Automotive and Construction, Business and Consumer Services, Cosmetology, Computer Aided Design, Early Education and Care, Graphic Design and Visual Communication, and Electrical. It also contains a student-run restaurant and clothing pantry. All of these spaces are located in close proximity to teacher collaboration and planning areas, seminar rooms, and academic classrooms, which promotes communication and interdisciplinary interaction. There is also a significant focus on “student space” within the building to promote school culture and the exhibit of student work.
The design solution protects the integrity of architectural style in the surrounding town through the use of compatible materials, retention of human scale in building mass, and careful attention to building location to preserve interaction with surrounding green space. The main entry is designed as a prominent element so it becomes a focal point along the length of the main entry drive. The building’s mass is increased at the main entry and the roof line is raised to provide visual importance and to create a focal point. The building material at the main entry transitions from brick veneer to fiberglass so that the material and color change also highlights the main entry.
The new building achieved a LEED Silver rating and includes many “green” design strategies such as an energy efficient building envelope, high performance windows, rainwater collection system, high efficiency mechanical and lighting systems, optimum acoustics within instructional classrooms, and low-flow toilet fixtures.
“After the tremendous success we had with the design and construction of our new Plymouth North High School, expectations were extremely high for a repeat performance by Ai3 on our Plymouth South High School. Some in our district hoped they would give us another Plymouth North, but instead they gave us something we could have never imagined…a completely unique Plymouth South that totally blew everyone away…a model for comprehensive education that was completely different from the North. The only similarities were the success of the project and the accolades Ai3 received for their great work.”