In 2007, Sidwell Friends School renovated the middle school building to increase classroom sizes for a growing enrollment. The new U-shaped school building surrounds a central courtyard designed by Andropogon that exemplifies sustainable practices. It features a terraced constructed wetland, rain garden, and a habitat pond. These elements are integral to the site’s wastewater cleansing and recycling system.
Functioning as an outdoor “living laboratory,” this space becomes an outdoor classroom. Students gain an understanding of how building wastewater and site runoff is captured, filtered, and re-used. These environmentally responsible systems complement the school’s science curriculum and encourage the students to pursue environmentally friendly practices in their own lives.
All hardscaped surfaces on the campus are surrounded by swales, which allow water to gradually infiltrate the ground, rather than entering into city drains. The school also features a green roof, planted with native plants. Clean runoff is stored in tanks and used to replenish the habitat pond during dry weather. All of these elements are complemented by educational and interpretive signage.