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NEW EAST, CENTENNIAL WILL HOST SCHOOL’S HISTORY, LEGACY

Artist rendering of the main entrance to Centennial showing where the Veterans Wall will be relocated.

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Through the community’s support of a 2019 bond, new buildings to replace the existing East and Centennial high schools are on track to be completed in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

The opening of these two new high schools will signal a new era for the District and the community as a whole.

But that doesn’t mean the rich and colorful legacy encapsulated in the current buildings will be lost to time.

Contrarily, there will be a wonderful melding of the past and future in the new home of the Eagles and Bulldogs.

With great respect to the vibrant traditions that characterize these two schools – as well as alumni’s desire to see that history preserved – great care was taken during the design process to ensure the new buildings would have ample space in which to showcase those elements that currently line the walls and fill displays in the current schools’ hallways and gymnasiums.

This week, District leadership, together with representatives from MOA and HGF Architects, and H.W. Houston Construction, shared this information with East and Centennial building leaders and alumni groups.

Within the new East and Centennial will be found a 500-square-foot themed Community Room, accented on either side by glass-enclosed display cases, that will be ideal for the showcasing of items currently housed in the Centennial Museum and East’s Hall of Fame.

“This room is adjacent to the main entry and has prominence, with high visibility,” Jack Mousseau of MOA Architecture told those assembled, adding that the entry lobby that leads into the school also offers display opportunity along its length.

Wall space within this Community Room – as well as in school hallways, commons area and gymnasium – offers yet even more display opportunities.

In all, each new building will host 150 linear feet of 6-foot high glass-enclosed displays built into the walls. This space will be home to not only mementos and elements of the past but future accolades and accomplishments earned by Eagle and Bulldog scholars and athletes.

Also incorporated into the new builds is hallway space for three large-scale murals, with the designs to be determined with input from school communities. Artist renderings of the gymnasium hall at the new Centennial and East

And naturally, East will have a dedicated display location for the Cannon, with Centennial to boast a similar arrangement for the Bell.

“So you dang better well win them,” Mr. Mousseau said as smiles broke out throughout the room.

Throughout the campuses will be found the distinctive branding elements that define the current buildings, such as the IB World Globe and Eagle sculpture and from Centennial, the Bulldog mascot motif, Veterans Wall and red-brick donor pavers.

All these elements will have prominence in the new build, with the Veterans Wall and donor pavers clearly visible to all who enter the new Home of the Bulldogs.

Although the current elements of Centennial’s outdoor courtyard cannot be transferred to the new building, the design calls for a lighted and enclosed courtyard in the rear of the school: with the opportunity available to embellish it with embedded motif designs, if desired.

A member of the Centennial Foundation expressed concern that a 2,400-square-foot community room that’s part of the current building would be lost with the new construction. This space, the Foundation member maintains, is critical to fundraising efforts and community gatherings.  

Mr. Mousseau identified multiple spaces within the new schools that will be available to host fundraising and community gatherings including the central commons, auditorium, gymnasium and other flexible spaces. 

“These spaces afford the flexibility to host gatherings large and small in environments infused with the spirit of each individual school” said Mr. Mousseau.

Artist rendering of how the Donor Pavers in front of the Veterans WallLouis Nazario, Project Development Manager for H.W. Houston Construction, assured the Foundation member, and all in attendance, that the aesthetically pleasing and welcoming buildings would be a virtual magnet for the community and donors.

“I really cannot wait for you to see these new buildings,” Mr. Nazario said, adding that the airy and inviting look of these structures is in stark contrast to the rigid, clinical style in which schools of 50 years ago were constructed.

And as the new Community Rooms will be available for use by the public, including alumni and Foundation groups, these will be the perfect vehicle for highlighting the rich histories, and promising futures, of the student bodies.

The representatives from the alumni and Foundation groups expressed their appreciation for the information presented during the meeting: especially the fact that the new buildings will afford abundant space in which to pay tribute to the rich legacies that define East and Centennial.

And true to the District's mission of providing a 21st Century educational experience for its scholars, the buildings will have abundant space to showcase the achievements and accomplishments of Eagles and Bulldogs to come.