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High school includes YMCA to share facilities and connect with the broader community

K-12 Schools

High school includes YMCA to share facilities and connect with the broader community

The Perkins&Will-designed Westview High School in Omaha, Neb., balances the communal quality of large gathering spaces with an array of rooms and nooks that foster small-group and other learning styles.


By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor  | April 1, 2024
Westview High School in Omaha, Neb., includes a YMCA to share facilities and connect with the broader community Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will

In Omaha, Neb., a public high school and a YMCA come together in one facility, connecting the school with the broader community. 

The 285,000-sf Westview High School, programmed and designed by the team of Perkins&Will and architect of record BCDM Architects, has its own athletic facilities but shares a pool, weight room, and more with the 30,000-sf YMCA.

“The Y and the public-school systems are the two largest youth development organizations in our county,” Chris Tointon, former president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Omaha, said in a statement. “Rather than build one Y and one school and stick them together, we needed to define as many needs as possible and work towards 100% utilization, so we received the biggest benefits of a shared facility.”

Students and YMCA members enter the building through two separate vestibules located next to each other in a common entry point. Students move into a two-story lobby that’s adjacent to student dining, while Y members go directly into the facility. Overlooking the lobby, an open-concept library features communal space that leads to a stair connecting the two spaces.

Creating a sense of community for the shared high school and YMCA

The design creates a sense of community with the central, large gathering spaces of the cafeteria, auditorium, media center, and gymnasium, in addition to the YMCA. The communal quality of these spaces has been balanced with a small-group student learning experience created by an array of rooms and nooks that foster various learning styles. Numerous spaces have been designed for student collaboration.

While the exterior features a simple beige brick and zinc palette, the school boasts abundant natural light as well as wood and brick. Classrooms and labs offer windows open to natural light.

The facility has been designed to withstand extreme weather volatility. The black box theater and locker rooms can also serve as storm shelters. These spaces’ windows have been high-stress treated, and the walls, roof, and pipes can withstand up to 250 mph winds and rain.  

On the Building Team:
Owner: Omaha Public Schools
Design architect: Perkins&Will
Architect of record: BCDM Architects
MEP engineer: Alvine Engineering
Civil engineer: Sampson Construction
Structural engineer: Performance Engineering
General contractor: Sampson Construction

Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Westview High School in Omaha, Neb., includes a YMCA to share facilities and connect with the broader community Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Westview High School in Omaha, Neb., includes a YMCA to share facilities and connect with the broader community Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Westview High School in Omaha, Neb., includes a YMCA to share facilities and connect with the broader community Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: James Steinkamp Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Photo: Tom Kessler Photography, courtesy Perkins&Will
Rendering courtesy Perkins&Will
Rendering courtesy Perkins&Will

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