Lanier High School Renovation

San Antonio, Texas

Historic School Renovation Blends the Past, Present and Future

First opened in 1915, Sidney Lanier High School is a community fixture in the cultural heart of San Antonio’s historic West Side. LPA worked with San Antonio Independent School District to preserve the school’s rich cultural history while providing educators and students with a modern, light-filled facility.

The century-old, windowless, brick-clad building spanning the length of two football fields was completely reimagined. A central atrium space was created, adding interior gathering spaces and promenades and opening up the entrance, crafting a true front door for this neighborhood landmark. Learning areas were filled with natural light, and different zones were created to support different curriculums. To honor the school’s mural culture, designers reintroduced 10 key artworks, established a digital museum, and reserved wall space for future murals.

Saving the bones of the building cut costs and reduced the carbon impact. To open the interiors, designers sliced off the roof and top section of the walls and added clerestory windows, while inserting a central entry nave to create an atrium and open entryway. Shared central spaces with stadium seating and light-filled corridors replaced the dim hallways and confusing wayfinding. Filling in the brick arches with windows illuminated the ground floor and opened the facility to the surrounding streets.

The purity of the boxy building was turned into an advantage, making it easier to create a system of rooms that could be shifted and combined to fit evolving needs. Adjustable spaces for collaboration and socialization make layouts and classrooms more fluid, opening up the school, engaging different learning styles and allowing for different curriculums.

The entire facility was future proofed; technology throughout the facility underwent a significant upgrade, and major systems, including the roof, were replaced. Enhancement of energy and HVAC systems cut the school’s energy bill by 60%.

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