A/E/C-Focused High School Opens
In an effort to increase minority representation in the building professions, a unique high school opened in August to a select group of students in Washington, D.C. The Phelps Architecture, Construction & Engineering High School (PACE), backed by several industry organizations, offers coursework in architecture, engineering and construction, as well as training in CAD, interior design, brick masonry and heavy equipment operation.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the D.C. Chapter of the AIA, and the Washington Architectural Foundation are among the groups offering financial support and other services for the school, including curriculum guidance. According to the AGC, the District of Columbia needs approximately 25,000 new construction industry employees every year. The school is taking steps to help meet this demand; its first class of freshmen is 132 strong. PACE has a capacity for 622 students.
The school is housed in a 1933 building originally erected for another vocational school, which as closed in 2002. After undergoing renovations, the facility was certified LEED Silver by the U.S. Green Building Council. The renovations included making the building a teaching tool itself: the walls feature several examples of brickwork patterns, and the ceiling features exposed, color-coded pipes to allow students to follow their paths through the building. MD