The Dorothy Hamm Middle School project received the Platinum Design Award in the Renovations/Expansions category in the Annual 2021 Virginia School Boards Association’s (VSBA) Exhibition of School Architecture. Getting a Platinum Award is very rare, and Dorothy Hamm was one of only two projects that were recognized this year. Winning projects were selected firms in the areas of new construction, renovation and adaptive use of existing space at the Annual Convention held in Williamsburg, VA from November 17-19, 2021.

A photo of a historic school with a large modern addition.
Ellen Smith, Principal, Dorothy Hamm Middle School when asked about receiving this award said “Everything in the building can be a learning experience. Walking down the hallways the kids can see signs talking about sustainability or how the building was designed and why it was designed this way. That’s really an important and enriching experience for kids and for teachers to use in their teaching tool kit.
A photo of students reading in a school library.

The design draws inspiration from the historic Arlington, VA school’s educational and socially progressive legacy as one of the first public schools in Virginia to fully integrate after the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The design team implemented an innovative approach to the creation of learning spaces and worked with the county’s instructional leadership to update an educational specification for future middle schools, and it was renewed to accommodate 1,000 students. Notable enhancements include sustainable features of a high-performance thermal envelope, a new energy efficient HVAC system, a green roof and bio-retention areas to support sustainable stormwater management, and design for natural light and enhanced lighting efficiency.

The building addition includes a new 40,000-square-foot media center and classroom wing that brings the latest 21st Century Learning thinking to life. The project approved by the Arlington County School Board achieved a LEED Silver certification.

A photo of students sitting at desks in a lab.