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Columbus North High School

CSO Architects, Inc.

Project Name

Columbus North High School


1400 25th St


Project Status


Year Completed



Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation


  • Structural Engineer: Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve
  • Civil Engineer: Christopher B. Burke Engineers, Ltd.
  • Other: L'Aquis Consulting Engineers
  • General Contractor: Bruns-Gutzwiller, Inc.

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Project Description


Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation developed a district wide master plan in 2005, identifying long range needs regarding the facility structure and the related educational adequacy of each building. The primary need was to upgrade and expand the existing High Schools to accommodate and reinforce the educational goals, concentrating on providing each student with a choice of multiply pathways to scholastic success. Columbus North High School was originally built in 1952, with significant additions in 1954, 1962 and 1982 and multiple renovations. The comprehensive 9th -12th grade educational facility, and subsequent additions, reinforced a traditional teaching model consisting of lecture type classrooms with teacher focused learning with very limited area informal learning, collaboration and student interaction.

Prior to construction, Columbus
North had an enrollment between 2,000 and 2,200 students with an additional 200 students who enroll in C4 (career, technical, vocational) classes scheduled throughout the day.  The functional capacity of the building before the project was 1,982 students, offering a full range of high school classes and extracurricular activities.  The building was organized departmentally, with one group of six teachers offering an interdisciplinary core of classes, with each instructor taking ownership of individual classrooms.  The music program included a highly competitive marching band, show choir, orchestra and jazz ensemble with very limited space and acoustical reinforcement or storage.  The school maintains 24 team sports, many of which have a varsity and junior varsity and/or freshman programs. The campus is landlocked between 25th Street (North) and 27th Street (South).  Its western boundary is Home Avenue and its eastern boundary is Maple Street. The building footprint prior to the project encompassed 373,726 square feet on 24.8 acres. The building contains an Auditorium, Competition Gymnasium, Auxiliary Gymnasium and Natatorium.

CSO Architects began working  with
a committee that represented parents, staff, administration, students and community members in 2005 to review physical and educational needs, while developing priorities for the facility Master Plan. The study focused on existing conditions, community use of the facility adequacy to reinforce educational goals and curriculum development for the High School. This work was done collaboratively with representatives from Columbus North High School to ensure the theme of “One Community, Two Great High Schools” could be reinforced in a plan that would serve the needs of all Bartholomew Consolidated High School Students for the next 25 years. The committee worked for 9 months and reached consensus on priorities which were the basis of the scope of work. 

The Master Plan Goals were outlined and identified in the Summary Vision and are identified below:
• Flexible and adaptable learning spaces
• Accommodate multiple pathways
• Technology rich environment easily accessible
• Teacher and student work areas that inspire creativity, collab-oration,  problem solving and innovation
• Development of Centers of Excel-lence
• Safe and comfortable learning environment

The Design Team incorporated the goals and principles established in the Master Plan process and rein-forced the criteria through the entire design process. The process provided to be thorough, concise and consistent with that required to produce an excellent project that properly balances Scope, Quality and Cost, while maintaining the integrity of the initial goals.  

During the schematic design pro
cess and with the valuable input from the school and administration, the building design was developed using the master plan goals as the point of departure, incorporated in each discussion. The included floor plans show the extent of new additions and renovated areas as part of this project. Renovated areas designated on the plans generally include new finishes, ceilings, lighting, casework, technology, and handicapped accessibility improvements along with new or upgraded HVAC systems. In many areas, walls were reconfigured to improve the functionality of spaces. Areas not addressed in this scope of work will be addressed in future building projects. Below is a summary of the scope of work included in the project associated with the building and the site.

The Main Entrance, previously
located on the south portion of the building, was relocated to the north side of the building. This relocation of the Entry was critical to achieving the goals of the project and the overall functionality of the building as well as the site.  The Entry location then created a new central corridor, connecting the front of the building with the academic resource areas. The new Entry was incorporated in the building addition on the north portion of the building which included the new Administration area, new Cafeteria and Kitchen, and new Performing Arts area.  The location also creates a natural division between the public Cafeteria and the new Administration location and clearly identifies the main entrance to the building. The lobby and entry area provide a secure and controlled access for students in the morning/ afternoon and visitors during the day.  The Cafeteria was located adjacent to the Entry and near the Administration in order to allow easy  and controlled community access to the area in the evening and allow supervision during the day. The building Addition also included new Performing Arts spaces to accommodate the significant and popular program. The location of the area 
provided easily accessible exterior access and adjacency to the Auditorium.

The project incorporates a new
two story classroom and resource area addition in the west portion of the existing courtyard, which also incorporated a new central corridor, connecting the academic are to the main entrance and the Administration.  The first floor of the addition contains General Classrooms and an adjacent Resource area, while the second level accommodates new Science Classrooms and Laboratories as well as an adjacent Resource area. The new classrooms as well as the renovated classrooms incorporate flexible furniture as well as technology to allow multiple teaching configurations, small group learning and project based learning. Incorporating natural light into all of the teaching, project and resource spaces was also a priority.

One of the primary goals identified
was to create teacher and student areas that inspire creativity, collaboration, problem solving and innovation.  This was achieved by designing Resource Areas located in the center of the Academic portions of the building along the main circulation spine.  This area is used for project collaboration and interdisciplinary integration between students and students, students and instructors and instructors and instructors. The spaces were created to promote random interaction and learning as well as scheduled learning. Instructors would be available in this area instead of the traditional classroom environment to encourage and creative and casual leaning environment which could be a one on one, or a group situation. Technology and flexibility in furniture was provided strategically in this area based on the intended use. The Resource spaces physically served as a “connection” space in the addition between related curriculum areas to encourage the project based learning and interdisciplinary communication. Light monitors were incorporated to allow natural light into these internal spaces. The central mechanical plant was replaced with a high efficiency boiler system with new cooling towns and roofing system to improve the overall performance of the building’s exterior envelope. The HVAC system is zoned in the building and several systems are used to achieve the maximum efficiency determined by the needs of the space.

The building has the ability to be zoned for public and private use, as the facility used by the community and private groups during the non-typical hours of operation as well. The facility is used every day during the week and fifteen hours a day for various activities and after hour groups.

The Site circulation was improved with enlarged parent drop off and student parking. New faculty park-ing was created on the south por-tion of the building, also creating a true circular route around the facility for fire truck access. Pervious paving was used in the majority of the areas to assist in the drainage. The C4 area was relocated to the southeast portion of the building as a result of the relocation of the main entrance and administration area in in the previous Cafeteria loca-tion. The location was important as students are enrolled in the program from the middle school and other high school and the area needed to be accessible and separated from the other functions. The Media Center was relocated to the area adjacent to the cafeteria and new Student Commons area on the north portion of the build-ing, while the previous location will be used for distance learning and remote access areas. The new Media Center incorporates flexibility in function.  Although the space accommodates the traditional reading material,  the function is focused on project work and group activity as well as teaching opportunities. The location is adjacent to the Cafeteria to allow easy access during the lunch period and close to the administration area for career counseling and secondary education research. 
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