Pope John Paul the Great High School

Location: Dumfries, Va.

Project type: educational worship

Client: Arlington Diocese of the Catholic Church


  • classrooms
  • laboratories
  • library
  • theater
  • gymnasiums
  • cafeteria
  • technology center
  • chapel
  • offices

Pope John Paul the Great High School was designed to serve 1,000 students with a curriculum focused on biotechnology. The building features a central chapel that creates a procession from the building's main entrance through to the tabernacle. Symbols of the Catholic faith are integrated into the design of the building.

The design takes advantage of the sloping site by organizing a highly efficient four-story structure around an interconnected main street corridor. Off of "main street," the building has four wings which are dedicated to major building functions. Wings serving the library and a theater are angled inward to create the effect of a welcoming cloistered courtyard at the entrance. Wings serving the recreation and food service angle out in the rear of the building to embrace the wooded landscape.

The budget for the project was significantly reduced during construction document development. MTFA collaborated with the Arlington Diocese of the Catholic Church and a design-build contractor to achieve dramatic cost reductions. Through foresight and diligence, costs were cut while retaining the fundamental design and program identity.

The project has received multiple awards.