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University School of Nashville Centennial Renovation

After the completion of the 2011 renovation to the University School of Nashville’s cafeteria, Manuel Zeitlin Architects began working with USN on a Centennial building project that will meet a broad range of needs for the school as USN enters its next century. The project will complete the renovation of USN’s historic home originally designed by renowned architects McKim, Mead and White. The renovation acknowledges both the client’s modern use of this landmark building and restores many of its original features.

This ambitious undertaking included 42,000 sf of renovated interior space in the middle and high school wings, and almost 8,000 sf of new space. The project's most visible and transformational feature is an iconic entrance that will lead from the 19th Avenue lot directly to the main foyer. From there many new or expanded elements are introduced: an entry lobby and revamped accessible entrance to the historic Cheek Gym, a presence for USNA, a redesigned school store, a fully restored pool facility, and connections to Lower and Middle School. The renovation addresses the client’s long felt need for a unified entrance for students, families, and guests who usually arrive by car, not on foot as they did in 1925. The intentionally grand, indoor-outdoor entry plaza affords students a place to socialize and study.

Upstairs from the entry atrium will be new space for Admissions, in easy reach for visitors. The project repaired the historic auditorium by removing two “storage towers” which had been constructed in the rear corners of the room, and re-installed windows to a 3rd floor space overlooking the auditorium that had been removed following a catastrophic fire in 1954. The relocation of the main 19th avenue entrance from the far western end of the campus to a central location also afforded the opportunity to re-allocate precious, existing space - formerly consumed by vestibules, corridors and stairwells - to classrooms, offices and academic support spaces. Rounding out the key features of a momentous initiative are four more classrooms and a redesigned top floor High School commons.