Volcano Vista High School, the Albuquerque Public School District’s first new high school project in nearly 20 years, represents the District’s desire to improve student learning through facility design and improved teaching practices. Utilizing national and self-generated research, APS established that the new high school would be organized in Small Learning Communities [SLC] of 125 students with the intention of improving student peer support, teacher contact, and student socialization. These Small Learning Communities are furthered organized in Academies including five discipline focused academies and one 9th grade academy. These Academies are essentially small individual schools within the larger high school and are fully programmed including administration, lockers, food service and technology classrooms. It is anticipated that students will spend up to 80% of their academic day in their academy.

The plan of Volcano Vista High School reflects the SLC and Academy organization. Individual academies and major program functions are treated as individual buildings arranged along a central spine. The individual academies are each organized around a light filled commons space that serves for group activities and food service functions. The spine serves to allow interior circulation to shared functions such as art and science classrooms, physical education, and central administration and parenting offices. The spine also serves to negotiate the site slope over the length of the project campus.

The project site was master planned to function as a comprehensive education center with APS K-12 facilities. An adjacent segment of the site was further master planned to function as a community recreation center with dual use sharing agreements with the District. This project was developed in partnership with SMPC Architects.