Metropolitan Design Center: Rethinking St. Paul's Central High School Landscape
A new report by the Metropolitan Design Center (MDC) proposes design alternatives to the current landscape surrounding the entrance to St. Paul’s Central High School. The project was initiated by school administrators, a group of motivated parents, and several students who felt dissatisfied with the current space. The MDC developed their redesign around the philosophical model of Rodney H. Matsuoka, who believes the presence of an attractive and welcoming landscape surrounding institutions of learning has been connected with higher graduation rates and test scores and an increased percentage of students planning to attend College.
The MDC conducted field survey work over the course of several days, observing site conditions, the flow of surface water, student behavior and movement patterns. From these observations, the MDC team provided a series of re-design alternatives that were displayed inside the school for faculty and students to review and comment on. Input was also sought through a survey sent to students, teachers, and neighbors.
The proposed redesign involves transforming the perceptions of the open space with trees, vines and local grass species, and advised the use of pervious surfaces to collect stormwater runoff. To enhance the school’s main entries, the MDC recommended using engaging paving patterns, lighting, seating areas, and art walls that would highlight the school’s identity.