Robert T. Hill Middle School

Dallas, TX

In 2010 th+a was selected to design an 11-classroom expansion and renovation for this existing East Dallas Middle School. Built in 1957 as a junior high school serving the post-war baby boom, Hill was originally a non-air conditioned school serving approximately 900 students and designed in the International Style in an L-shaped plan. Over the years, the school added air conditioning (mostly as roof-mounted equipment), with much of the ductwork running on the roof due to restrictive floor-to-floor heights of the original building design.

th+a's challenge was to review the program for the addition and determine the best approach for expanding this school. The primary entrance to the school originally faced Easton Road, a four-lane arterial. Over time and with the addition of a rear loop drive bus drop-off area, most students had begun to access the school from the back. This area also featured several large old-growth trees.

th+a developed a design scheme which successfully resolved multiple issues for the school. The compact design for the two-story addition, with its efficient footprint and strategic position, allowed the campus to retain its established foliage while avoiding costly landscape changes. The inclusion of a new entrance lobby and stairway also transformed the addition into a new student entryway into the school. It also ties into the existing two-story classroom wing on both levels, and includes a new elevator to improve handicapped accessibility within the entire school.

Interior upgrades included replacing classroom, auditorium and library ceilings and lighting, as well as interior painting throughout, and renovation of the student toilet rooms. Other improvements incorporated into the design included significant replacement of many of the existing HVAC units, upgrades to the electrical system, and security enhancements to provide lockdown capability at each classroom.