Lick-Wilmerding High School Historic Renovation & Expansion
Project site: Historic structure or district
Building program type(s): Education – K-12 School
2022 COTE Top Ten Plus Honoree
This major renovation and expansion of Lick-Wilmerding High School forefronts its legacy as an industrial arts school dedicated to public service. The school, with its motto of “Head, heart, hands,” continually seeks to push the limits of academic excellence, civic engagement, and craft and technology. Both the design process and strategies echo this philosophy through the integration of a truly equitable community engagement process with high environmental goals that would result in the building being a model of urban sustainability, targeting deep carbon reductions through net zero energy design and the transformation of an existing building, preserving its historic fabric and becoming a dependable facility resource for the surrounding community.
"This project beautifully demonstrates how you can restore and renovate existing buildings, taking existing structures and flipping them to be extroverted and embracing street culture. Lick-Wilmerding shows how historic buildings can be net zero, not mutually exclusive." - Jury Comment
The Center for Civic Engagement—formerly hidden down a maze of double-loaded corridors—is now prominently located in the lobby, elevating the importance of public service. The new design also pulls the campus entry to an active urban corner, creating full accessibility and establishing a robust public presence with a generous lobby that fosters student community and flexibly hosts public functions. The economic benefits to the community are unostentatious but critical, as local nonprofits are regularly welcomed to use the new building's spaces to support their various community events.
Craft and technology are highlighted throughout. At the entry, rotating exhibits of student work are featured at the plaza gallery, instilling pride and ownership. At the existing building, the integrated historic and new building envelope meets exceptionally high thermal, acoustic, daylighting, and air-quality standards in response to challenging site adjacencies. A target EUI of 21 kBtu, resulting from early optimization of roof areas for PVs, is the cornerstone of the net zero energy approach, balanced with exceptional occupant satisfaction, provides a holistic approach to personal, social, and environmental wellness, as acknowledged through the receipt of the 2020 Livable Building Honor Award.