West Charlotte Replacement High School

Charlotte, NC

This onsite replacement project for a beloved 1954 high school will serve as a community anchor and point of pride as it serves a new generation of students. The new design consolidates programs that were previously scattered across 15 aging campus buildings to provide a welcoming 21st century learning environment. At the start of this project, it was evident that West Charlotte High School was deeply ingrained in the fabric of the surrounding community and it was crucial that this school stay in the original location. The goal was to design a school that could be built on the current campus with minimal disruptions so that classes could continue to take place through construction.

Community engagement in this close-knit but historically underserved area was integral to the design.  After a series of meetings with students, faculty, alumni, and the community at large, it was apparent that the community of West Charlotte embraced the school as a symbol of local history and culture and an immense source of pride. The new school will honor the original campus with carefully considered gathering areas, connections to the outdoors, and monumental elements such the courtyard, theater, and “omni” multiuse space which exhibit a sense of time-honored usage and grandeur.

High-impact experiential graphics throughout the building will honor the history and culture of the campus and celebrate diversity among the students and faculty. The entry highlights a timeline of historic events in this predominantly Black community dating back to 1954. Their new omni space will serve as both a lunch room and an after-hours community event space. The dining area features flags from all over the world representing the diverse student body. A large lion wall graphic in the cafeteria highlights school pride, and in the corridor connecting the auditorium and natatorium, display cases will preserve artifacts from the existing campus.


RECOGNITIONS: 2023 IIDA Carolinas DesignWorks Winner, Education Pre-K-12 category