Starting from scratch

Sandy Spring Friends School, Sandy Spring, Md., has 547 students in pre-K to grade 12. It constructed a new middle school to accommodate its growing population.

The heart of the 26,000-square-foot building is a two-story community gathering space, known as a collection room. Adjacent to the collection room on the ground level are three classrooms that feed into a common area containing students' lockers and mailboxes. Also on the ground floor are three science rooms, a computer lab and an administration wing.

On the second level, a mezzanine overlooking the collection room leads to two more sets of classrooms and common areas. The second floor also holds a music room, art room and computer lab, as well as a conference room and offices.

Generous windows and skylights reveal the campus' natural landscape and provide nearly every room with abundant daylight.

Other environmentally sensitive elements include low-flow plumbing appliances to reduce water usage; natural rubber flooring; carpeting made from recycled materials; paints and sealants that have low-VOC emissions; and a ventilation system that heats and cools fresh air using energy recovered from the exhaust.

The $4 million middle school is part of a $19 million campus expansion and renovation program.

The architect is Hord Coplan Macht (Baltimore).

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