Lake Highlands High School Additions and Renovations

  • area / size 171,000 sqft
  • Completed 2021
  • Location Dallas, Texas, , United States
  • HKS was tasked with completing the additions and renovations for Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, Texas.

    HKS designed a new student commons, relocated the library and three existing cafeterias into a new hub, and retrofitted the space to create 24 additional classrooms. The hub now hosts an open cafeteria and library/media center − flexible enough to provide seating for 1,000 students per lunch serving − while providing informal learning areas. The completed building delivers a new experience aimed at providing a safe environment that will support the school in building community within the student body for generations to come.

    The team designed choice into the dining program, providing a variety of table sizes and types (round tables, high-top tables, booths), and built a learning stair that doubles as a space for students to informally enjoy lunch while overlooking the hub.

    As part of the school’s holistic solution, HKS worked hand in hand with the Arts, Science and CTE chairs to develop state-of-the-art laboratories designed to enhance the learning opportunities for the entire student body. The original 24-classroom program in the bond was leveraged into a student-centric, transformative renovation of significant portions of the existing high school building.

    In the arts wing, one of the old cafeterias was converted into a visual arts studio, consisting of two visual arts classrooms, one ceramics lab including a potter’s wheel area, a kiln room, dry and wet storage and one painting lab. The labs have access to a large, shared storage room and are equipped with movable glass partition fronts. These connect to a flexible art lab intended for medium to large project-based instruction as well as use as an art gallery. The flexible lab is equipped with a digital resource library for arts research and digital art projects. The entire studio has ample access to natural light through a secured courtyard, which also provides outdoor space for art instruction.

    For the CTE studio, HKS re-envisioned its existing space to provide an additional instructional area in the architecture and construction programs. Computer drafting, prototyping and 3-D printing areas were defined more clearly and separated from the workshop laboratories, which were enhanced by turning a service yard into a covered outdoor workspace. The studio was infused with transparency to encourage curiosity and potential interest, as well as showcase the work of the great program.

    The team incorporated design strategies aimed at stress reduction, including physical and visual connection to nature and an abundance of natural light. All locations in the hub enjoy views of the exterior, including a courtyard, views of the sky and a strategically placed viewing garden adjacent to the main dining area. This was designed to balance the district’s concern with the maintenance of a landscaped area by creating a non-accessible space that’s fully landscaped to maximize its impact on students’ mental health.

    The hub cultivates a space and an experience that promotes a healthy mind and body, providing ample visual and physical access to nature − celebrating differences in sensory perception while enhancing student connectedness, not only to one another, but to the community at large.

    Design: HKS
    Contractor: Cadence McShane
    Photography: Roy Aguilar