- Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) SC Chapter, The Excellence Awards, Merit Award, 2018
- Steel Joist Institute, Unique Design Award, 2017
Driven by the growing needs of the community, the new Philip Simmons High School is surrounded by 9,000 acres of undeveloped forested wetland. The forest setting informed the material palette and spatial elements, including a “technology forest” that serves as a commons or touchdown area equipped with recharging stations for the students. Its adjacency to the cafeteria, through full-height glass garage doors, allows expansion for student dining or events.
Inside the building, every core academic area surrounds a flexible workspace for group projects or independent study, a key element of 21st century learning environments. A media center houses a progressive electronic library and a coffee shop. Outside the building, courtyards are utilized for outdoor learning classrooms. The cafeteria opens onto a courtyard that allows for exterior dining and is shared by the visual arts program exterior work areas.
In the business and hospitality academy, students learn about hotel careers such as managing a front desk and other aspects of hospitality, and it contains an area for a mock hotel room. In the health science academy, students learn about human biology and other medical skills in a hospital type setting. A mechatronics lab is included for students to engage in all types of engineering and technology. The new high school also contains a 650-seat theater and full-size gymnasium which opens up to an auxiliary gymnasium creating an expansive space for athletics.
Opened in August 2017, the 215,000 SF facility houses 1,200 students with core facilities designed to accommodate a potential expansion to 1,500 students.