A stunning example of “form meets function,” this highly innovative structure instantly became the envy of the academic community upon its completion. The school’s resemblance to a shopping mall is no accident – the idea was to create the mall-like atmosphere to make it more appealing to students, as well as increase overall utility. Separate Classroom Pods and Specialty Education Pods are linked by the Mall, which is “anchored” at one end by the Theater/Performing Arts Pod and on the other end by the Physical Educational Pod. The focus of the building is a centrally located, soaring two-story entranceway ringed by a 10-foot wide corridor encircling the building on the second floor.

ACHC interior with large windows
ACHC interior with large windows afford students and teachers sweeping water views

Strategically placed windows afford students and teachers sweeping water views outside the building, and unobstructed interior views, reducing the cramped feeling often associated with school classrooms. The building also features open stairways in the “Mall” for access to the second floor via a 10-foot wide balcony.

Home classroom
One of the classrooms

The centrally located entrance/exit that everyone must use, provides for increased security. The school was listed one of the safest schools by the Atlantic City Press, and also won the award for Design Excellence from the prestigious American Association of School Administrators and the International Masonry Institute. Not bad for a project that came in at $7 million under budget.