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A Quaker high school in Maryland is the first in the U.S. to get WELL Gold certification

K-12 Schools

A Quaker high school in Maryland is the first in the U.S. to get WELL Gold certification

The Stantec-designed school features a biophilic strategy that extends learning to the outdoors.

By Novid Parsi, Contributing Editor | May 16, 2022
Well Gold Certification Sandy Spring ext
Courtesy Stantec

Designed by Stantec, a Quaker high school is the first in the US to receive WELL Gold certification, which recognizes a commitment to occupants’ health and well-being. Part of the Sandy Spring Friends School (SSFS), the new Pen y Bryn Upper School serves students in grades 9 through 12. Stantec provided architecture, interior design, and engineering for the Upper School.

Founded in 1961, the SSFS campus houses multiple educational buildings for more than 650 students from preschool through 12th grade. SSFS sits on a pastoral 140-acre campus in Maryland, midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Stantec’s simple, elegant design is meant to align with the school’s Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. In the new Upper School, students and teachers have access to a variety of educational environments—traditional classrooms, open or closed collaboration areas, and social spaces—that offer dynamic lighting solutions and flexible, ergonomic furniture.

The design features a biophilic strategy involving both environmental elements and energy solutions. The building extends learning to the outdoors with a covered front porch beside a meditation garden, a sunny maker-space patio, and a roof terrace. Inside, expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass provide daylight and exterior views in the classrooms, collaboration areas, offices, and social areas. The interior also incorporates large areas of ash wood walls created from trees reclaimed onsite.

In addition to its WELL Gold design, the Upper School is engineered as a net zero energy-ready facility: The total amount of energy used by the building annually roughly equals the amount of renewable energy created on the site or nearby.

On the building team:
Owner: Sandy Spring Friends School
Design architect and architect of record: Stantec
MEP engineer: 2RW Consultants
Structural engineer: Keast & Hood
General contractor/construction manager: Keller Brothers, Inc.
Civil engineer: Stantec
Landscape architect: Brian J. Stephenson + Company
WELL building consultant: Delos Living

WELL Gold Certified Sandy Spring ext 2
Courtesy Stantec
WELL Gold Certified Sandy Spring int
Courtesy Stantec


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