High School Expansion

Alexandria Area High School

Alexandria School District is facing a population boom and the enrollment at AAHS will be over its capacity of 1,400 students by 250 students at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.  Thanks to the generous support of the Alexandria community, the school board approved a large expansion referendum.  The scope of this project will include expanding the A and B wings with new classrooms and interactive spaces, a new indoor/outdoor rec center with a pool, hockey arena, and rock wall, an addition to the Industrial Technology wing including a new wood shop, indoor/outdoor construction facility, and a small engines/auto lab, and finally a larger commons with expanded outdoor space.  Our Architecture class will be working on the preliminary designs in this class.  We will divide into four groups and each group will design a section of the expansion.  


For this project, you are encouraged to envision an improvement for your school, something that would benefit everyone who uses it. The most successful designs will be ones that identify a specific need and present a strong design solution. The challenge is to add something that changes the footprint of your school building, while addressing a specifically identified need. Projects should include research and development, real world images and information showing why the need exists, in addition to final project design and information.

Collect Info

How do you Collect Info for this step of the design process?

Think About

  • What is the size of your school building? Using Google Earth and other online resources, generate a site plan for your school location.
  • What are your initial thoughts about the building? For example, is your school lacking room for art classes? Physical education? Band practice space? Common areas? Cafeteria space?

Brainstorm Ideas

How do you Brainstorm Ideas for this step of the design process?

Explore at least three possible solutions, each of which will no doubt help you as you search for the best addition to your school.

  • What could your ideas look like?
  • How would it change the landscape of your school?
  • Who will benefit most from your design solution?

Try to answer these questions visually through sketching, and in words by taking notes.

Develop Solutions

How do you Develop Solutions for this step of the design process?

From the previous step, where you developed multiple solutions to the design problem, you should select one of your designs.

  • What is your favorite design? Why?
  • What aspects of your school would it improve?
  • Who would benefit most from your new design?
  • What materials would you be using, and why?

Ideally you will want to create plans of some kind to communicate your final vision, so start to sketch site plans, elevations, and even a floor plan if necessary.

Final Design

How do you develop a Final Design for this step of the design process?

Present your final design to your class, to get feedback before completing your project. If you talked to other people while working on and researching for this project, show them your design and get their feedback. If they talked to you before, they will want to see what you’ve created! Take notes during these conversations, and try to understand their suggestions before deciding if you wish to make any changes to your final design.

Carefully take stock of feedback from others and do your best to find the information that will help you finalize your project. Someone might tell you something seemingly small, but that bit of information might be the difference between a good project and a great one.