Raising the Bar for Students
View Ridge Middle School
In response to a growing need for a larger school with a dynamic curriculum, LSW worked with the Ridgefield School District on the design of a 148,800 sf facility. This new campus houses two distinct schools – Sunset Ridge Intermediate School for grades 5-6 and View Ridge Middle School for grades 7-8, with shared core spaces. The two-level building accommodates 1,200 students and has space for 44 classrooms.
Ridgefield School District
The campus was funded by a $78 million bond that was passed by District voters in February 2017. LSW worked closely with District staff and teachers to help create a vision and plan for the campus that would honor their commitment to students and the community through a design that would add lasting value.
To account for a large student population, the design was focused on flexibility of spaces, creating a layout that is easy to navigate and manage, and providing a safe, nurturing, and secure environment for students and staff.
The school’s layout is very intentional, taking into consideration the site’s conditions and features. The Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programs are important parts of the District’s vision and have been located at the front of the school as featured and celebrated components. To fully support the school’s Special Ed program, there are several rooms dedicated to individual and group learning, including a Life Skills, Therapy, and Sensory Play room.
The classroom wings are located to the South to maximize daylight. Connecting the two are the commons and the media center, facilitating easy access and giving students from the two schools a place to come together and interact.
Connection to Nature
One of the major site features is a wetlands area. Rather than viewing the wetlands as a limiting site factor, the design team chose to celebrate it as a learning opportunity, creating access and views through open courtyards. Another key element of the site is the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex. Developed in partnership with the City of Ridgefield and the Ridgefield School District, the complex provides expanded athletic field offerings and space for parking for use by the District and the community.
The design for Sunset Ridge Intermediate / View Ridge Middle School meets the requirements for the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol (WSSP). In addition, it was important to staff and students to expand on these features in ways that enhance the user-experience. Below are a few examples that capture the school’s commitment to a sustainable program, as filtered through LSW’s own sustainability lens:
An EUI study was done roughly 5 years after the design was completed, producing the following results:
Modeled energy-use intensity (EUI): 35
Actual energy-use intensity (EUI): 22.5
This is a 70% reduction in energy use over baseline
The project met the majority of its energy conservation by following WSSP Superior Energy Requirements and Commissioning
Synergy of uses to encourage active lifestyle: the project shares facilities and resources with the RORC (Ridgefield Outdoor Recreations Complex)
Building is oriented to maximize views while avoiding challenging areas in site planning, areas including rolling hills, riparian habitat areas, wetlands, wetland restorations, critical aquifer recharge areas and geologic hazard areas
The school provides fixed sunshades in South and West elevations
Project maximizes outdoor spaces with two large courtyards that abut existing wetlands; most classrooms, labs and STEAM rooms have direct access to outdoor spaces.
All the classrooms have large window openings to promote daylight projection into the rooms
Clerestory windows have been added to STEAM, Band, Gym, Library, and Administration rooms to promote natural daylight
The design team used the WSSP framework to maximize indoor air quality, natural ventilation, conduct multiple acoustical studies, and provide user controls:
All premium efficiency motors, variable flow fans and pumping systems, and heat recovery systems
High efficiency boilers and chillers
Co2 monitoring to improve indoor air quality and efficiency
Demand Control Ventilation
Natural ventilation through roof top units
User-controlled building automation system
The project followed WSSP guidelines to receive credits for waste reduction and sustainable materials usage; efforts included
Reducing site waste
Recycling content materials
Using regional and local materials
Using environmentally preferred materials
The natural hills, landscape, adjacent nature reserve, natural water flow and wetlands are the main organizing tools for the school's layout
The project followed WSSP credit for reductions in both Landscape/irrigation and potable water usage:
50% Reduction of irrigation water reduction
25% Reduction of potable water use reduction
Enhanced structural design to withstand earthquakes using buckling-restrained bracing (BRB) and multiple seismic joints
Designed for extreme site conditions, including wetness and hilly conditions:
Concrete treated base/waterproofing
Flood protection by designing the stormwater/retention areas and specific site placement.
To read more about sustainability at LSW, download our Sustainability Action Plan here.