Clifton Forge Enrichment Center

GVGBC Green Spaces
Design Competition 2015

Clifton Forge, VA

Greg Jackson of Topia Design

Greater Virginia Green Building Council’s 2015 Green Spaces Design Competition Winner

“This year’s challenge asked entrants to design new, sustainable uses for the Clifton Forge High School in Clifton Forge, Virginia. Built in the 1920s, the school has been vacant since the 1980s. Town residents and members of the school’s alumni association have great pride for this 42,000 building and want to see it reused.” –

Many of the residents in Clifton Forge live in beautiful large multiple story residences, but as they age these homes will become a burden, and no one wants to be uprooted from the neighborhood that they love. Small, efficient, universally designed housing with generous common spaces and public areas for interaction will strengthen the surrounding community.

The theater will be renovated and open to the public for movie nights, recitals, Community Theater and special events. Several of the classrooms will be revitalized and used for art, exercise, stretching and agriculture classes. The kitchen will be renovated into a community kitchen for having shared meals for the residents, fund raising dinners, and neighborhood meals. The grounds of the building and surrounding park will be enhanced with gardens, outdoor dining, creekside park, multi-use trail to downtown, and a greenhouse for education and food production.

A renovation is always more sustainable than building new, and this renovation will respect the historic fabric of the building while reducing its energy consumption and restoring it into a wonderful place. A geothermal heat pump system will replace the decaying boiler and radiators with comfortable and efficient comfort; the geothermal wells will be located under the baseball field. The apartments are designed to keep the open feeling of the old classroom spaces with an energy and space efficient core that contains the kitchen, bathroom and comfort systems. Solar electrical panels will be used to power the building’s systems and solar hot water panels will be used to heat water for showers. Rainwater will be collected in storage tanks and then used with subsurface and drip irrigation to water the outdoor gardens and fields.

Greater Virginia Green Building Council: 1st Place (2015)