Over the last few years, an increasing number of residential developments within the WW-P school district have been drafted, designed, and constructed. This influx of housing translates to an estimated 3,200+ students of all different ages flooding into the schools over the course of the coming years. The potential gain of 200-300 students per grade increases the demand for space, facilities, new technologies, and the much-needed renovations for various buildings. Architecture firm FVHD has taken the lead in designing and implementing the changes for the district with a major focus on Community Middle School(CMS), High School South(HSS), and High School North(HSN).
Of the three schools, CMS and HSS will have the largest changes made to their current structure; including 58,000 and 40,000 square feet worth of additions respectively. Project manager Stephen Schreyer has provided details of the intricate plans for the middle school, ranging from a 9,000 square foot gymnasium to a refurbished auditorium with new seating, flooring, and lighting. The district has attached large importance to every aspect of a student’s daily life, and thus the new renovations will also include new classrooms, new physical education spaces, improved music rooms, and a more developed dining experience. The introduction of eleven science classrooms, four general classrooms, and two outdoor courtyards will allow a lower student-to-teacher ratio and provide staff the resources for a more engaging learning environment. There will also be new locker rooms and storage spaces for sports teams, which will be accompanied by a complete fitness center and weight room, something that was only previously available at the high schools. The kitchens have also been fully renovated with new cooking and serving lines, as well as a satellite serving line in the recently expanded dining commons.
The high schools will also be experiencing some changes, with a focus on cultivating student talent outside of traditional academic ones, demonstrated by the new dance studios and culinary labs in both high schools that will feature commercial-grade cooking appliances and demonstration tables. Individually, HSS has plans in place for 8 new science classrooms, a dance classroom, and a S.T.E.M lab. It can be evident from the additions that HSS has placed a heavy emphasis on the mental health of its students, with a Counseling and Child Study Team that will now be located in the previous main office. HSN, in comparison, will have much less drastic changes made to it. The only major renovation is a brand new 2,900 square-foot dance room currently under construction behind the auditorium stage. This addition to North will prove useful for clubs like SAASA and the annual musical; both of which currently do not have dedicated spaces to choreograph and practice dance routines.
The district is also taking the opportunity during the renovations to shift the schools to a cleaner energy system, with photovoltaic panels being installed on the roofs of HSN and HSS. Hopefully, with their success in the high schools, the rest of the district can also shift to a more sustainable source of energy.
The new additions to the WWP district may seem to many to be a sudden decision that was suddenly implemented. In truth, these projects are the result of a referendum to use capital reserves to renovate the district, which was passed in November of 2018. The quarantine period, as a result of COVID-19, sped up the process of initiating the district’s goals since contractors didn’t have to worry about staff and students near the construction sites. Although at the same time, the pandemic delayed the execution of the designs because of supply chain shortage and the high demand for building components. Nevertheless, the architects are confident that the already 75% complete upgrades will be in place for CMS, HSS, and HSN by the end of 2022.