Project Spotlight: Southside High School

Nov 28, 2017 | blog

Tools and techniques available to students and teachers have changed dramatically in the last 47 years – since Lafayette built its last new high school. With the development of new, 21st Century teaching methods, we have a better understanding of students’ varied learning styles & the importance of their learning environment.

Twenty-first century school design maintains a focus on elements of utility, transparency, ergonomics, and flexibility. Southside High School’s three-story structure brings these principles to life through a bright interior and open floor plans in shared spaces. Classrooms with exterior windows and interior glass walls allow natural light to flow through hallways and collaborative learning areas. This high degree of visibility also promotes safety.


Each classroom, designed to accommodate 32 students, features furniture selected to complement the class type & structure. The health and physical education classrooms include rolling Haskell chairs to promote mobility and active learning in classes that typically involve dynamic activities. Core classrooms are equipped with interlocking desks and chairs that can be arranged and rearranged to form grouped pods or long sets of tables. Teachers have the opportunity to effortlessly adapt their classroom layout to their teaching style or lesson plan.


Large spaces dedicated to collaboration are located in the main halls of each floor. These areas are designed for students to work independently between classes or after school and for groups working on projects together. The furniture here can be manipulated as needed, allowing students to turn tables into chairs when more space is required.


There’s an emphasis on technological integration at Southside – both in instruction and vocation. As a 1-to-1 campus, each student has a laptop provided for in-class use and homework. Charging lockers allow students to safely break away from their tech when their studies call for something a little more lo-fi. Students interested in computer engineering will also have the opportunity to take courses to earn certifications and college credit.


Southside High School represents a complete environment designed around a new way of education. We didn’t just design a new school. We helped create a new learning culture.


© Abell + Crozier Architects