The April 20 town hall meeting in Bartlett gave citizens their first chance to lob questions at city and school leaders about the proposed $55-60 million project to renovate Bartlett High School. It also gave school leaders and the project’s architectural firm a chance to explain the details.
Some sort of renovation was inevitable, with at least one building dating back 100 years. Bartlett High is massive, with a higher enrollment in grades 9-12 of any high school in the state. And it’s growing.
Scott Fleming, an architect and principal of Fleming Architects in Memphis for the project, cited the numbers to back up that statement: The projected enrollment is 1,928 students in grades 10-12 for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. The current campus capacity is 2,000. An analysis of enrollment data and trends predicts that the school will reach capacity within two years if no changes are made. The growth curve is expected to plateau around the years 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Superintendent David Stephens said, “This is something we have worked on for more than two years. We have looked at many, many, many scenarios.”
The town hall’s presentation revealed more of the nitty-gritty about the renovation:
Classroom changes. This includes 17 more classrooms; renovations for classrooms with new finishes, new ceilings and updated lighting; and new furniture.
Expanded fine arts capacity. This includes an expanded and relocated band room on campus, new choir room with an office and storage spaces, a new strings rehearsal space, a common music library. It also includes a new drama classroom, atheater office, taheater work room adjacent to the new auditorium, three new art classrooms with storage, and an art office and kiln room.
New career and technical education (CTE) and vocational spaces. The existing attendance and guidance offices in Building A will become three new CTE classrooms. A new CTE building will contain an automotive technology shop, welding shop, the advanced manufacturing lab, classrooms and increased storage for CTE.
Expanded special education spaces. This includes expanded administrative spaces, more special education classrooms (with restrooms) and a new sensory room.
Administrative spaces. Major offices (main, attendance and guidance offices) will be expanded and centrally located next to the main entrance.
Circulation and connectivity. Buildings will be connected with a new east/west corridor and a new north/south corridor. There will be new secure auxiliary entry lobbies that enclose connections between existing buildings.
Improved safety and security. This includes new secure auxiliary entry lobbies to enclose connections between existing buildings along Woodlawn Street.
Exterior improvements. The school will receive new facade treatments along Woodlawn Street to create a unified look. Automobile access to the interior of the campus will be removed, and those spaces will be replaced with landscaped courtyards. On-site parking capacity will increase from around 400 to 750 spaces.
Updated and relocated library. The existing cafeteria will become the new library. This will move the library from upstairs to the ground floor and place it across the new courtyard from the school’s new entry hall. The library also will have new windows overlooking the courtyard to improve natural light and views.
Improved athletics. This includes new locker rooms adjacent to the new varsity gym for girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, volleyball and visiting teams. A new football field house will contain a new locker room, weight room and offices. There will be a new stadium plaza for tailgating, events and football games.
To see conceptual videos, answers to frequently asked questions, and more, see the project’s website at builtforbartlett.com.