Circular Skylight – Governor Baxter School for the Deaf

A LEED® Silver Certified Academic Building – the first for the State of Maine Bureau of General Services

Location: Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, Falmouth, ME
Lead Architect:
Nancy L. Barba, AIA, Principal, Barba & Wheelock
LEED® Consultant: Danuta Drozdowicz, LEED® AP, Project Manager, Fore Solutions


To create a one story 10,000 SF school that maximizes daylight without sacrificing energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the nation’s schools spend more than $6 billion each year for energy. If they all achieved energy savings of 30% through a combination of operational improvements, efficient and renewable energy technologies, and better building design – including innovative daylighting strategies – the savings could be as much as $2 billion.


Barba & Wheelock decided to increase daylight by connecting a series of classrooms with a corridor of light. They chose a Wasco Circular Dome skylight to create a diffused natural lightwell in the school’s main hallway – a space that also serves as a gathering and conversation area. Baxter achieved a 30% energy savings in addition to providing great daylight.

Nancy Barba says, “It was important for me to select a local company that could provide the skylight product that we needed for this project – not only for the school’s LEED® certification but in support of our firm’s values, as well. On a personal note, I like the fact that Wasco is committed to local philanthropy and I hold the company in high regard.”

Project Manager, Danuta Drozdowicz adds, “The quality of light in Baxter School’s Brewster Hall is extraordinary – and that is so important to effective learning and student performance. The fact that this was achieved without an energy penalty shows that this is a wonderful example of integrated design.”

Nancy Barba, AIA, Principal

Nancy Barba, AIA, PrincipalMs. Barba, a licensed architect with the State of Maine, has been a managing design principal since 1986. She has led projects of all types and sizes for schools and colleges, municipalities, historical societies, churches, museums and private residences. Many of these projects involve her expertise in historic preservation as well as her commitment to social purpose. Ms. Barba is an Advisory Trustee and former President of Maine Preservation and the Maine Olmsted Alliance for Parks and Landscapes. In 2006 she was named Maine Preservation’s “Preservation Champion,” a statewide honor previously held by Senator Olympia Snow and former Governor Angus King.

Barba & Wheelock • 500 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101 • (207) 772-2722