A 21st Century Education in an existing School

Ridgewood High School Sound Abatement

  • An Expanded Scope

    In the midst of the 5 year construction phasing plan for $40 million of capital improvements, the District received word that a $28 million FAA Sound Abatement Grant was approved. For years the students had dealt with the obstacle of acoustics within various learning spaces, finally, this issue would be resolved. While this was outstanding news, this windfall turned an already full construction summer into 16 months of continuous construction. The scope of work included a new mechanical system, a new curtain wall system (which covered 60% of the existing building facade), a new roof (over 65% of the building footprint) and repair or replacement of everything and anything in the way of that work. Fortunately, due to the overlapping of capital improvement projects with this grant work, the District was able to take advantage of some of these construction area redundancies. Therefore, the school renovated existing space to create a new STEM Lab and a new Commons and Administration areas. All spaces were already planned for, but now the District was able to save money since the FAA was going to pay for items like new ceiling tiles/acoustical treatments, windows, electrical and mechanical systems all which were a part of these areas.
  • Silence is Golden

    This project is the first sound abatement project in the history of the FAA that will be a LEED Certified Renovation. The project is seeking LEED Gold Certification and with that title comes a 25% energy savings from the building’s original condition. Not only does the new curtain wall and new roof provide an aesthetically pleasing condition, but they also have enabled the District to create a synergy. The density of the native plants adds mass at the vegetative roof portion and prevents exterior sound from infiltrating the building. The curtain wall and the new roof both with a higher STC rating also have a better R value which allows the District to save thousands of dollars on the long term energy costs of the building. The design team calculates an annual natural gas savings alone of approximately $21,000/year.
  • STEM: Meeting the Challenge of 21st Century Education

    The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Lab focuses on project based learning, Engineering by Design. The space provides variable learning areas and displays that allow for all students to benefit from the integration of the curriculum and is also located adjacent to the CAD lab and Shop area. Students are required to plan and build various projects within the space, once complete, the students must also give a presentation. With regards to learning styles and multiple intelligences, the open space allows kinesthetic learners more flexibility in movement for the sake of learning. Visual learners will be supported through greater technologies and the white board wall; each intelligence/learning style now has the resources to support the style.
  • Space to Collaborate

    The Commons area is also very similar in nature to the STEM Lab. Having an open flexible plan with moveable furniture enables not only the students to utilize this space throughout the day, but opens the arena to teacher collaboration as well. In this way, the space encourages interdepartmental collaboration and supports opportunities for integrated curriculum. Further integration is encouraged by locating the commons area with access to the outdoors, enhancing the collaborative abilities of all classes through the use of nature. Integrated curriculum is also enhanced because the openness and flexibility of the learning space allows two different classes to collaborate at one time.