The Design Commission has approved the new Lincoln High School campus. The existing school will be replaced with a new 6-story, 102’ tall building with 281,000 sq ft of educational and support space. The design of the project is by Bora architects and Mayer Reed landscape architects.
The Lincoln High School campus is located in Goose Hollow, on an 11 acre super block bound by SW 18th Ave, SW Salmon St, SW 14th Ave and adjoining properties on SW Jefferson St and Madison St.
The new school will be located at the western portion of the site, fronting SW 18th Ave. The existing 1952 school building at the east of the site will remain in use during construction. Once the new school building is complete the existing building will be demolished, allowing for the construction of a track and field.
A north-south pedestrian/bike connection through the site on alignment with SW 17th Avenue would be created, between the new building and the athletic field. The new connection would be open to the public, outside of school hours.
The classroom tower will be located at the corner of SW 18th & Salmon, across the street from a recently approved apartment building. The main entrance will be from an entry court located at SW 17th and Salmon. Drop off and pick up activities will continue to happen on SW Salmon St.
Larger volume spaces, including the school’s theater and athletics facilities, will be located in a lower rise structure, which extends along SW 18th Ave to the south west corner of the site.
Other structures proposed on the site include a new grandstand, south of the proposed track and field. An existing concessions and restroom building will be retained. Existing modular classrooms on the site will be relocated and reused as a teen parent center. A large black walnut tree at the corner of SW 14th and Salmon, designed as a city heritage tree, will be retained.
The primary material for the main building will be a terracotta colored ribbed concrete panel, with sand colored concrete panel accents in a rough texture. Other materials proposed include box ribbed metal panel, dark grey fiberglass windows, dark grey aluminum curtain wall glazing. The roofs of the school will include areas of ecoroof and a photo-voltaic array.
The Lincoln High School replacement was approved by a unanimous vote of the Design Commission on August 1st, 2019. The project had previously been in front of the Commission for four optional Design Advice Request meetings, held in July 2018, October 2018, February 2019 and May 2019.
In the Final Findings And Decision By The Design Commission it was noted how the new building will act as a gateway into the Central City from the west:
The site is not a designated gateway, however, the intersection of SW Salmon & SW 18th mark an active and important district focal point as the West Hills meet the Central City. As discussed during the prior Design Advice Requests (DAR) the building design for this corner is therefore critical in both activating and establishing a gateway feature at this intersection.
Two significant architectural elements will activate the corner of SW 18th and Salmon: At the ground floor, the Media Center (Library) will provide activity and visual interest. The use of this space frequently extends into the evening, resulting in a sense of activity that will extend beyond the school day. On floors 2-6, a large stair tower is located on the corner. This stair will be actively used as one of the primary ways students and teachers will move up and down through the building multiple times per day. Both the stair and the Media Center are enclosed in glass that wraps around the corner of the building, creating the moment of the greatest transparency for the entire project. These
two elements create a complementary response to the “Flatiron” corner of the Butler Block mixed-use project planned for the north side of SW 18th and Salmon. Together, the two buildings will define the threshold between the West Hills and the Central City.
Two architectural elements will activate the corner of SW 17th and Salmon; the main entry to the building has been located at this corner. The entry is defined by a large, transparent recessed porch, exterior steps and seating elements. The main entry corner is emphasized with a large, raised-letter sign.
Building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin.
As a teacher I’m actually more interested in seeing how the interior spaces are designed and used. That’s where the rubber meets the road in terms of whether this will be a successful and world-class school.
Looking at the rendering of the new Lincoln High School, I had hoped its exterior would be realized with the same care to detail, timeless character, and dignity demonstrated by the remodeled Grant and Franklin Highs and the additions made to them. Of course, Lincoln’s style is contemporary, appropriately enough, but that’s no excuse for producing a cheap-looking, flat facade. I regularly pass by the building site on foot and to my eye the structure does not so much read as a public high school so much as some kind of commercial office building whose developers went for the least expensive skin that was functional. Although the brick red of the rendering suggests school house brick and the tan panels are perhaps a reference to glazed terra cotta, the actual finish looks more like suburban mall Dryvit. Stand on a west corner of 18th and Salmon, then look east and tell me that this new school — which should be honoring our students — doesn’t suffer terribly by comparison with its neighbor, the new 1715 Salmon Apartments. Let us hope Lincoln’s interior compensates for its exterior. For the latter, perhaps the only solution is ivy.