The architects of the proposed new building for spoke Tuesday evening to update parents and residents on the status and design of the modernization project.
John Easterling, of GWWO Architects and the project manager, laid out the future plan that includes a 309,155-square-foot building (the current building is 296,191 square-feet) and will house 2,099 students—the current enrollment is 1,900. "It's not a dramatic increase in school size or student count," Easterling said.
The existing school will continue to operate during the construction scheduled to start in 2013 and completed in 2015. The stadium and fields are part of phase two and aren't scheduled to be completed until 2017. The existing softball and baseball fields will remain intact during the construction.
The layout of the building has "education in mind," Easterling said, referring to the grouping of departments. "We want to pull the academics together."
There will be three stories in the back and two in the front. It's also a "green" design in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
Residents of Holland Road, Erin Garth and Severna Forest—all neighbors who either back to the school property or live across the street—had concerns about the impact of the new construction on their homes and community. They asked questions about setbacks, traffic, trees, pedestrian safety, noise levels and the placement of athletic fields and basketball courts.
Christopher McCord's home on Erin Garth backs up to the existing basketball courts. McCord spoke about the teenagers hanging out at the basketball courts at night, how a fire was started in the woods between his house and the school by a dropped lit cigarette and the current foot traffic by students who use his yard as a shortcut.
With the modernization, the basketball courts will be moved to the other side of the school but will be replaced with the stadium—right on the other side of McCord's fence.
"I still don't buy that it is cheaper [to modernize] than to renovate," McCord said after the meeting.
The design will be presented to the Board of Education on March 21 followed by the design and development of the classrooms, another six-month process. Easterling said they hope to break ground in August 2013.