Let’s Build for Reality, not a Fantasy

At the October 1st School Board meeting, school board members will be asked to decide whether to award a sole source contract to Moseley Architects for “architectural and engineering design services of the 13th High School”.  The cost of the contract is $3,475,750.

The staff report on the award states that using the Battlefield / Freedom prototype, which has been built several times it the past in the county at Hylton, Freedom, and Battlefield, will be $1.3 million less than the cost of developing an entirely new plan.

That goodness for fiscal restraint!

Last year there was a debate about which design to use for the 13th high school – the Hylton / Freedom / Battlefield design, which was characterized as dark and dreary but affordable, or the Patriot / 12th high school design, which was characterized as bright and cheery but expensive.  That was a stupid debate.

The 13th high school is, by some accounts, already overcrowded.  It won’t open until the fall of 2019 or 2020, and it’s already overcapacity.

The debate last year shouldn’t have been about which style building to use, it should have been about how big the school should be.

Both designs have a capacity of 2053 students, but both Battlefield and Patriot have more then 2500 students enrolled.  In fact, both will have enrollment that exceeds 2700 in the near future.

Why are we building 2053 student high schools, when we jam pack them with 2500 – 2700 students and then have trailer parks out back?  Shouldn’t we build the high school to accommodate more students?

I encourage our school board members to vote against awarding the contract and instead to consider changing the 13th high school from a 2053 student school to a 2500 – 2700 student school.  Our school construction projects need to start reflecting the reality of what we’re dealing with in terms of population, rather than some fantasy that has never been nor will ever be realized.

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