First look at draft plans for East & Centennial (Apr. 23, 2020)

posted Apr 23, 2020, 2:11 PM by
Wednesday night, April 22, the community got the best visualization yet of what the new Centennial and East high schools will look like.

In the second Community Forum and Town Hall, which was held virtually by the project's architects, MOA Architects and HGF Architects, a preliminary draft of a floor plan for the schools was unveiled, based on the feedback given by attendees at the firms' first community town hall on March 5. As many as 175 people signed on to view the meeting with more than 120 staying engaged for the duration of the program. 

A full visual presentation of the plan is available on the District 60 Vimeo channel. 

The two schools will follow the same floor plan, and the schools will be constructed alongside the current buildings. The projected budget for the new schools is $75.7 million each.

The architects' drafts centered on the usage of space in the schools. Based on notes from meetings with the community, students, the Design Advisory Group, school alumni organizations, and District 60 learning services staff, the draft presented Wednesday was designed to address the needs and wants expressed by most of those stakeholders.

Amy Yurko, an educational planner with BrainSpaces, an MOA/HGF partner that focuses on interacting directly with communities to gauge their needs and wants for new schools, led the digital town hall as well as the March 5 town hall. She said that the plans presented Wednesday combined their notes from stakeholders with the needs of trends of 21st-century classrooms.

"Our 21st-century learning environments need to do so much more than we imagined," Yurko said, "so they need to be organized a little different than we're used to. We've been working with learning services and other folks from your district to understand what that means specifically to you guys." 

Wednesday's presentation outlined a list of needs for rooms and spaces in each school, ranging from gymnasiums all the way down to janitorial closets, and a visual representation of what that would look like.

Based on those needs, a full draft layout was presented, which included suggested sites for the newly-constructed schools on their current properties.

Centennial's suggested construction site is approximately where its current practice fields are located, and East's suggested site is at the corner of Constitution Rd. and Mac Alester Rd., where its current baseball field is located.

Among the major points of the design were: 
  • 20 collaborative "learning studios" (classrooms)
  • three lecture halls
  • multiple science and miscellaneous labs
  • academic and student commons areas
  • art studios
  • library "information commons"
  • 1,300 to 1,500-capacity gymnasium 
  • athletic training areas
  • 500-seat auditorium  
  • band and choir areas
  • Career and technical education areas (health education, culinary, etc.)
Also included in the draft design were locations of parking areas, outdoor athletic fields, and more.

"Our students are being asked to do so much more now," Yurko said, "and the environments we give them need to inspire them to do those things."

The third virtual town hall, which will answer questions posed by Wednesday's viewers, will be held June 3. 

To view key points of the presentation, use the links below:
Full Presentation (1 hour, 14 minutes)