The Country Day School Movement of the early 20th century fostered the idea that exposure to nature was a critical part of educating young people. The Potomac School's campus in McLean was intended to be "open to the outdoors and shared with a farmer and his cows." Today, McLean is a bustling suburb that defiantly retains as much of its rural ambience as possible. Even though suburbanization has slowly encroached on the perimeters around the Potomac School, the purchase of additional land over the years has allowed it a substantial buffer of woodlands surrounding the campus. A "connection to the surrounding land" is endemic to the school's mission. After the acquisition of an additional 16 acres in 2003, the school engaged Sasaki to develop a master plan to overcome typographical challenges and increase enrollment. In response, Sasaki envisioned a consolidated, walkable academic village that strengthens the connection between the school and the surrounding natural environment. Sasaki then provided planning and landscape architectural services for four subsequent projects at the school, including building the new Upper School and central quadrangle.
Sasaki's master plan and landscape architecture preserved existing buildings and establishes the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools along an axis that culminates in a large curvilinear green, known to students as The Tundra because it preserves a signature large, old Black Gum tree. Sasaki's plan sited new buildings in the Upper School to reinforce this critical open space while forming a new gateway to campus. The Upper School was designed to reestablish a simple relationship to the natural landscape and to educate students about natural processes with features such as rainwater gardens and a green roof. Another project involved the implementation of a new Lower School campus and the landscape design for the entire arrival sequence to the school.
The landscaping within the heart of the campus includes stepped terraces that frame a central quadrangle used for major school celebrations. The quadrangle is oriented towards the surrounding natural wooded areas. Sasaki identified multiple opportunities make the campus itself a living laboratory for natural systems, such as rainwater gardens, native plantings, and a green roof which covers one of the new buildings in the Upper School. Thus the school engages with its site, both literally and metaphorically, continuing the school's founding desire to connect to nature and imbue students with a sense of civic collaboration and stewardship of the earth's resources.
In 2013, Dixie State University
(DSU) was approved by the Utah Board of Regents to convert from a state college
to a state university. This institutional shift prompted the need to
re-envision the campus...
The 2018 Campus Master Plan (CMP) is the regulatory vehicle for the University’s future development, defining both the square footage to be constructed and the geographic location of such development....