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Cape High named Delaware’s most beautiful

Architectural Digest features one school for each state
September 26, 2017

Cape High's impressive rotunda extended by brick wings earned it the title of most beautiful high school in Delaware by Architectural Digest magazine.

Scrolling down the Sept. 12 online issue of “The Most Beautiful Public High School in Every State in America,” Cape High holds its own among Spanish Revival, Colonial Revival and Gothic Revival high schools across the country.

“The district is honored to be recognized as having the most beautiful high school in the state,” said Superintendent Robert Fulton. “Along with being beautiful on the outside, it is equally as nice on the inside. Great spaces like the theatre, gymnasium, cafeteria and athletic fields are used regularly by our students and the community.”

Kelly Lucas of BSA+A, Wilmington architects who designed Cape High, said Architectural Digest contacted the firm and requested a photo of Cape Henlopen High School. She said the firm did not enter a competition, but it is thrilled that Cape High was chosen.

“As the architects on the project we are very proud of our work, but we also want our state to have pride in the Cape school district. It is great when Delaware’s educational facilities are recognized by a national online publication,” she said.

Lucas said the author of the Architectural Digest story reviewed dozens of schools per state before making her selection.

“I selected ones that were architecturally significant - typically historic buildings, though some modern ones stood out, too. And then I narrowed down my selection to one per state by making an aesthetic judgment,” said Stefanie Waldek, writer of the Architectural Digest article. “As for Cape Henlopen specifically, I appreciated the design nod to classical architecture, and I thought the rotunda was particularly noteworthy.”

Completed in 2009, the new 214,000-square-foot high school was designed to incorporate energy-efficient materials, and natural light was instrumental to the design. It replaced a 1970s-era building that no longer met the district’s needs, said Brian DiSabatino, CEO of EDiS Company, which built the school.

“We can’t accept ordinary,” he said. “Our buildings will stand for generations, so it is important that they meet the functional need of the user, and at the same time enhance the community in which they are built.”

School board member Janis Hanwell was assistant superintendent for the district and also project director for the high school when it was built. She said she is proud how the high school turned out, and is honored that the school has received architectural recognition.

“The ultimate goal for the design of the high school was to ensure that as the gateway into Lewes, it was a good fit. We wanted it to represent the architecture and the historical feel of the town and of the schools that made up the original consolidated Cape Henlopen School District,” Hanwell said. “The architects, BSA+A, hit the nail on the head, and the construction management firm, EDiS, made sure it happened, on time and within budget.”

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