Monterey High School

Project Details

Monterey, Tennessee


Putnam County Schools


PreK-12 Education


Architecture, Interior Design

Team Members



2016 TSBA School of the Year, 2016 AIA East TN Honor Citation

The 1955, 17 acre campus was demolished while the student body was relocated within the community until a new modern campus was completed in 2016. The 133,000 gsf campus accommodates grades 7-12, is designed for an initial enrollment of 600 capable of expanding to its core capacity of 800 enrollment. The new school provides a comprehensive, modern day curriculum in state-of-the-art educational spaces and a full complement of recreational and athletic amenities. The design embraces clarity in response to complex demands.

This project illustrates the essence of pre-design, understanding site characteristics, available resources, educational equity, and esprit de corps among policy-makers, funding bodies and community. Committed to comprehensive curriculum despite a very small enrollment in a “no-growth” area; the community wished to rebuild on its historic, yet “too-small” site. The site had topographic, geologic, ground water, flooding and wetland issues. Physical factors, achieving the program and “Spartan” budget, presented challenges. Current athletic fields became “fixed” by budget. Wetlands required protecting. Expansion into the adjoining park was denied. The program was “frozen” to protect curriculum. Parking was to be accommodated on campus.

Designers accepted the need to go vertical and that a major grade transition was necessary. The project was anchored by utilizing “big box” spaces as a retaining element, making usable cost-effective space from the design’s superstructure and providing a dramatic arrival to the gymnasium and football games from the top of the bleachers. Support space located on the axis between indoor/ outdoor activities efficiently serve the stadium, gymnasium and auditorium.

The school primarily consists of masonry bearing walls, cast in place concrete walls, concrete slabs on grade, precast concrete floor planks (lower level), steel frame floor construction (upper level), and open-web steel joists supporting metal decking (roof). Roofs are low-slope gray TPO on rigid insulation. Exterior walls are clad in brick and cast stone veneer.

Charcoal gray and silver metal wall panels are used on the gymnasiums and as an accent material around the building. Exterior windows and clerestories are aluminum storefront with low-E insulated glazing units. The interior material palette includes painted masonry walls with vinyl composite tile flooring and acoustical ceiling tiles. Interior doors and windows are a combination of storefront and hollow metal frames with wooden doors. Heating and cooling is achieved through ground-source heat pumps. The mechanical system, electrical system, and building envelope are energy efficient, designed to exceed the energy requirements of the 2006 IBC.

Educational and social spaces encircle a courtyard at the main level. A simple loop circulation offers access and visual connectivity from all spaces… extending dining, resource center and art into the outdoors. The modernist design tastefully uses basic materials to create dramatic, transparent, day-lit geometry, well-integrated into the site…elegantly detailed for simplicity and maintainability. Collegial and civic in its aesthetic…..a source of pride for a small community in Tennessee.

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