Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School

  • LOCATION: Vancouver, WA
  • COMPLETED: 2013


LSW and Evergreen Public School staff worked with community health partners at PeaceHealth, Legacy, Providence, Kaiser, Clark College, and WSU Vancouver to design the 69,000 sq. ft. high school adjacent to the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Through curriculum focused on bioscience and healthcare, the goal of HeLa High is to prepare local students for high-demand, living wage jobs in the fastest growing industry in the United States. Students attending HeLa High have learning opportunities in nursing, health informatics, bio-medical engineering, a pharmacy, bio-tech, advanced biology, and advanced chemistry.

Hands-On Learning

One of the major goals of HeLa High was to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students, resulting in a number of unique spaces and elements.

Nursing Suite:The suite was designed to provide simulated opportunities to work with “real” patients.  The training can be recorded and viewed by the teaching staff from an adjacent control room where they can regulate the situations occurring in each patient room.

Pharmacy Program: Working in conjunction with the nursing suite, students can gain experience distributing probable prescriptions and responding to other call needs to their fictional patients.

Fitness Room: Computer monitoring in the fitness room provides integrated learning opportunities for students interested in health education.

Technology:In addition to a technology-based resource room, Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the school to facilitate student research of the healthcare industry.  As students and teachers gain knowledge of how education impacts the healthcare industry, the programs offered at HeLa High School will evolve to fit changing needs based on research.


For HeLa High School to truly prepare students for postsecondary education and future careers, it was vital that the school’s curriculum be generated with the help of medical professionals.  To accomplish this, Evergreen Public Schools conducted a number of community outreach symposiums and established unique partnerships with PeaceHealth, Legacy, Providence, Kaiser Permanente, Clark College, WSU-Vancouver, and private practitioners.

Through these partnerships:

  • Students benefit from an educational curriculum based on programs that are most useful to the community and that would provide them with the best chance of success in healthcare careers
  • The District was able to obtain in-kind contributions of equipment and curriculum
  • Students have access to mentoring from medical professionals
  • The school was designed to foster after school use by medical professionals and the community.  For example, the Commons has its own exterior entrances and restrooms to allow users to remain separated from the rest of the school.

Environmental Consciousness

HeLa High School is Evergreen Public Schools’ first project to meet the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol (WSSP). The project received 60 points, well above the WSSP requirement of 45 points. The building addresses solar gain on the South façade using sunshades constructed of photovoltaic panels provided by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. The Foundation graciously donated a kiosk in the lobby to monitor the additional energy input generated by the panels.

Sustainable Design Strategies

Other strategies to meet the WSSP requirements include:

  • 100% of the stormwater is treated onsite using bio-filtration swales
  • Drought-tolerant plants are used, limiting irrigation water by 50%
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures are used, resulting in a 30% reduction of water use
  • 90% of construction waste was recycled
  • 40% of the total project value contains recycled material
  • 20% of the building materials were manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the project site
  • FSC certified wood was used for 50% of the cost of wood-based materials and products
  • Low emitting finishes are all specified to be at or below the allowed levels
  • An Energy Star-labelled white membrane roofing system reduces heat load
  • LED light fixtures were used on the site and designed to avoid light pollution extending beyond the site boundaries
  • High-efficiency boilers, radiant floor slabs, and sunshade devices on 100% of South facing windows result in energy savings
  • 100% of the critical visual spaces and direct line of vision from over 90% of critical task areas enjoy daylighting and views
  • Supplemental electric lighting is on sensors and fluctuates depending on the amount of natural light present


Architect: LSW Architects, P.C.

Civil Engineering: Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc.

Mechanical Engineering: Interface Engineering

Structural Engineering: Kramer Gehlen and Associates, Inc.

Cost Consultant: Architectural Cost Consultants, Inc.

Landscape Architect: Terraza Design LLC

Code Authority: City of Vancouver

Electrical Engineering: MKE & Associates, Inc.

Survey: Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc.

Food Service: Halliday Associates

Value Analysis: Meng Analysis

Geotechnical Engineer: Geo Design, Inc.

Acoustical: Listen Acoustics

Plans Examiner: Albert Brookins