Carolina High School & Academy


Greenville, SC


Building Equity Sooner for Tomorrow (BEST), Greenville, SC


Craig Gaulden Davis, Greenville, SC

Associated Architect:

Perkins+Will, Charlotte, NC


Michael M. Simpson & Associates, Greenville, SC

Precast Specialty Engineer:

PTAC Consulting Engineers, Pensacola, FL


Turner Construction Co., Charlotte, NC

Project Scope

Structural Precast Elements:

• 1,526 total pieces, including load-bearing wall panels and double tees


2007 PCI Design Award Winner - Special Award Schools
Carolina High School & Academy
Carolina High School & Academy
Carolina High School & Academy

To reflect the engineering and technology programming at this school, located in an economically struggling part of town, designers created a total-precast concrete structure with bright public spaces and vibrant colors in the classrooms. The design features load-bearing precast concrete walls and double tees, producing a system that was fast to erect and durable.

“The biggest challenge was placing the new structure on the existing site with the original facility still in use,” explains Scott Powell, project manager for Craig Gaulden Davis, the architectural firm on the project. The property featured a steep rise, wetlands and an existing football field that couldn’t be moved.

The design features a two-story layout, with the students entering on the top main level and half the classrooms on the lower floor. An outdoor dining area was created outside the student-commons areas, which was terraced with a circular concrete pad at the base to create an amphitheater.

Having successfully completed other schools in the county’s billion-dollar revitalization program, school administrators were familiar with the benefits of precast concrete, and they were satisfied with the aesthetics and construction speed that could be provided. The precaster’s plant was less than a mile from the site, making delivery and communication easy.

The entire building structure, including floor, interior and exterior walls, and roofing consisted of fabricated precast concrete components. High-volume spaces, such as the gymnasium, auditorium and band spaces, were grouped together to simplify the structure. These public spaces feature translucent panels and curtain-wall to allow in as much daylight as possible. Red thin brick cast into the panels at the plant was used on the façade to introduce warmth and provide easy maintenance.

The resulting project gives students pride in their building and its durability ensures it will be able to minimize maintenance costs throughout its life.

This project, with its rigorous composition and careful use of daylighting, demonstrates that schools can—and perhaps should—impart a sense of dignity. The overall massing is well configured, and the building elevations and courtyard geometry complement each other. It’s an orderly and functional building.
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