This article is part of gb&d‘s Green Typologies series The Kids Are Alright: Five innovative schools.
Location Sacramento, CA
Size 27,500 ft²
Cost $6.9 million
Program Charter high school campus renovation and multipurpose building addition
Architect Stafford King Wiese Architects
Client The Met High School, Sacramento City Unified School District
Contractor Turner Construction
Certification Not applicable
Site Renovation of extant building
Energy Surpassed Title 24 by 26%
Waste 75% of construction waste recycled during renovation
Landscape Drought-resistant vegetation
Water Low-flow fixtures reduce outdoor water use by 50% and indoor water use by 40%
Transportation 50% of students ride bikes thanks to student-created community bike shop
The Met Sacramento—a charter high school in the Sacramento City Unified School District—was originally founded in Sacramento in 2003 as an extension of Big Picture Learning’s innovative national education program, which emphasizes customizable educational paths for its 300 students, or ‘Metsters’ who are led by ‘advisors’ rather than ‘teachers.’ Metsters choose an educational path and internship opportunities that correspond with their own interests as they move through the four-year curriculum.
It’s a style of education conducive to creativity and collaboration, which are both reflected and developed in Stafford King Wiese Architects’ (SKW) $6.9 million, sustainable renovation of the school’s 27,500-square-foot downtown campus. “The Sacramento City Unified School District has been a longtime client of SKW, so our work with The Met was successful due in part to the relationship with the district and understanding their vision for this program,” says Pat Derickson, president of SKW.
The school chose to renovate its 70-year-old, 22,000-square-foot building because it was the most sustainable option. “Prior to renovation, The Met was looking to expand and relocate their program, but they were looking at alternate sites,” Derickson says. “After our evaluation of the potential sites, the clear and most sustainable choice was to renovate the existing building.”
SKW supported its evaluation with a proprietary points system that weighed the sustainability benefits of relocation versus renovation against both the Met’s mission as well as the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) movement, which, if the Met was designed in correspondence with that system, would make it eligible for much-needed grant money. By opting for renovation and reuse of the site—with its extant structure, courtyard area, and ability to add expanded space—instead of a new build, the school earned almost $400,000 in High Performance Incentive Grant money.
A primary component of the renovation process involved opening up the structure’s interior with higher ceilings and moving walls and then filling those spaces with mobile furniture, creating functionally diverse education areas filled with daylight. “Kids are learning differently today,” Derickson says. “Classrooms need to have flexibility, and they need to be adaptable to the pedagogy so our kids can be prepared to compete on a global basis.” The Met also has a raised-bed vegetable garden and community bike shop—created by Metster Jeremy Gray—complementing the school’s commuter-oriented focus.
This article is part of gb&d‘s Green Typologies series, which in each issue explores a single type of building. For more of our most recent collection, The Kids Are Alright: Five innovative schools, choose from the list below: