Fairmont Heights High School

Hyattsville, MD Completed 2017
Project Highlights
  • Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS)
  • New Construction
  • 193,200 sf
  • Pursuing LEED Gold

A place of communal pride.

When the original Fairmont Heights High School first opened in 1950 during the era of Jim Crow, Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public School system was still segregated making the early school the first new facility built for an all African-American student population in the County.

The school became a focal point for legal and social action during the movement to desegregate schools that continued through the mid-70s. Overcoming this adversity together helped cultivate a strong, active alumni chapter which was heavily engaged throughout the replacement school’s design process.

As the most forward-looking K-12 facility in PGCPS’ inventory, students enter the school through an open and airy vestibule. Designed with the intent of community utilization, “public” spaces such as the school’s dining hall, gymnasium, and auditorium face the back of the site to maximize use by different community groups with minimal disruption to academic space; while the classroom bar, organized by grouping major academic clusters, faces the front in direct proximity to administration and media center spaces.

Both students and faculty will have the opportunity to learn about the school’s many sustainable features through an interactive energy dashboard. On track to receive LEED Gold certification, the school boasts sustainable design elements such as an underground cistern, geothermal wells, a planted vegetated roof, pervious paving, rain gardens, and bioswales around the site.