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South Warren High School

Warren County Board of Education, Bowling Green, KY

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Project Details

South Warren Middle & High School stands out as a groundbreaking educational facility in Kentucky, boasting several “firsts”:

  • It is the largest public school in Kentucky
  • It is the first educational project to feature both interior and exterior Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) structural walls
  • It holds the record for the largest single-structure ICF installation in North America

The school accommodates a total of 2,000 students, including 750 middle school students and 1,250 high school students across grades 7-12. The two distinct schools are connected by a 750-seat theater complex and a central kitchen.

The theater showcases a historical marquee in the lobby, and its independent entrances and restrooms allow the space to be used without opening the academic wings. The theater is equipped with dressing rooms, a prop-building area, green rooms, and a backstage corridor that connects to the band and choral rooms of both schools.

The central kitchen is designed with staged prep and cooking centers, catering to two cafetoriums that function as food courts and practice gymnasiums for both schools.

Each school features a double-height lobby and a clerestory-lit “great hall,” which connects public spaces to the academic wings. The high school incorporates an interior courtyard, situated between the lobby grand stair and the media center, providing natural light to the corridors and offering an outdoor reading patio at the media center.

The technology education labs cater to a pre-engineering curriculum, with an introductory lab in the middle school and an advanced lab in the high school. Consumer science labs and chemistry, biology, and physics labs are strategically located within each school’s departments.

The South Warren Athletic Complex serves the needs of both the high and middle school. The athletic complex is located south of the school and includes an all-sports field house with locker rooms, restrooms and concessions.

An all-sport fieldhouse serves as the gateway and entry control point for the main athletic complex, which is fenced for security and ticket sales. Just beyond the field house is a central gathering area with a flagpole and masonry seatwalls offering views across the entire complex and competition football field. Heavy duty concrete walks double as ambulance and service access to the fields.

The Athletic Complex features a softball complex, baseball complex, competition football complex surrounded by a 8-Lane 400 Meter oval track, four tennis courts, a competition soccer field and practice football and soccer fields. The baseball and softball complexes include press boxes, bleachers and recessed masonry dugouts. All fields are oriented to provide the best playability with regard to solar orientation.

Storm drainage and grading were particularly challenging on this site due to the karst geology and massive water sources moving through cave systems below the site. Bioswales are incorporated throughout the site to improve water quality and control quantity discharge. The bioswales, associated plantings and underdrains allow suspended solids to settle and the water to slowly infiltrate. This provides improved water quality and groundwater recharge.

Decorative permeable pavers at the field house/concessions, press boxes and between the bleacher pads and track provide storm water quality and quantity controls via deep stone base for groundwater recharge. The permeable pavers combined with concrete banding and thoughtful scoring patterns provide a more aesthetically appealing facility.

Parking is located to serve the school during classroom hours and the athletic complex after hours.

To support the middle school, additional athletic fields are located outside the high school complex.