The Sandia High School Science Academy and Library exemplifies a learning concept Albuquerque Public Schools has been incorporating into much of its school design and rehabilitation. This Sites Southwest project included a sports field addition, a landscaped mall connecting the new buildings to the rest of the campus and a very large wetland, which is the focal point of the Science Academy.
The sports field has a baseball diamond with dugouts, fencing, an outdoor gathering area near the bleachers and connective walks. The mall–the center of the new campus– includes walkways, seating areas, student gathering points and a landscape that ties into the wetland. The wetland and surrounding landscape functions as a learning laboratory. The landscape traverses the ecotones from the Sandia Mountain foothills environment to the Rio Grande Valley. The rest of the landscape incorporates outdoor biological classrooms, reused dimension cut concrete and a cistern to feed the wetland. The wetland has three distinct environments including aquatic plants from various landscapes.
Learning greenhouses and vegetable gardens complete the learning facility. Sites Southwest worked closely with the school’s biology teacher on this project.