Wye River Upper School
Hord Coplan Macht led the design, coordination and construction documents for the Wye River Upper School, located in Centreville Maryland.
Wye River Upper School specializes in educating high school students who have a variety of unique learning styles, including ADD, ADHD, and Dyslexia. Their philosophy is shaped by their guiding belief in the power of each student’s unique talents, skills, interests and goals. Hord Coplan Macht, in association with local firm of Torchio Architects, assisted the school to move from leased spaces in a local Community College to find and build-out a permanent new home in a historic National Guard Armory building in Centreville, MD.
Working with the staff and students, we were able to transform the building to balance the historic charm while providing exceptional learning environments. We conducted a “Goldilocks test” of sample furniture with students to identify what would enable them to work well, and maintain focus. We then used that furniture to help us determine appropriate classroom sizes for smaller groups of students, understanding how they may work independently and work together and designing spaces that support that. Working with the existing building, we tackled challenges of bringing daylight into classrooms that are five feet below grade, connecting all three levels of the building for all students and creating adequate noise separation between spaces to enable students and staff to have a comfortable environment.
The newly renovated 21,000 sf, three story brick structure has a small addition to provide good vertical access, but it retained its historic character that shines in nearly every room. The school also takes advantage of its location in the town in ways like using the adjacent public library, rather than build their own. The wide variety of spaces serve the diverse needs of the students and staff and the building brings life back to the community through re-use of a vacant structure and an opportunity for after-hours events and meeting space.