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An inside look of a cafeteria and learning stairs at one of our new high schools while still under constructionSlated to open for educational business in 2023 and currently 65 percent complete, the new Centennial and East high schools received a group of special visitors Friday afternoon.
With representatives of GE Johnson, H.W. Houston Construction and HGF Architects serving as the site guides, Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso, Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Morey, Executive Director of Continuous Improvement and Innovation Ted Johnson and Chief Financial Officer David Horner joined Board of Education members Vice President Tommy Farrell, and Barb Clementi and Dr. Kathy DeNiro, for an inside look at the future of education.
With the familiar red and gold colors already in place at Centennial and East, respectively, the two-story, expansive buildings are quickly taking the shape of state-of-the-art educational facilities scholars, staff and the community can expect in a little more than a year from now.
The visitors were shown the schools’ auditoriums and gymnasiums, classrooms and locker rooms, commons areas, Career and Technical Education spaces – for East, an industrial-size kitchen and at Centennial, the new home of the Health Academy – open-air balconies, and other notable features.
Ample use of natural light, striking views, and a spacious, welcoming atmosphere – evident even in the heart of construction – are among the highlights.
Chief Financial Officer Horner, who along with Executive Director of Facilities and Construction Management Bob Lawson continues to oversee the massive projects, praised the efforts of the contractors and sub-contractors.
“They are doing excellent work,” CFO Horner said. “We are right on time and right on track. The drawings and renderings really don’t do the projects justice. You have to come see in person to gauge what we are really getting for our kids.”
Superintendent Macaluso, a proud graduate of East, and Assistant Superintendent Morey, were equally impressed with the incredible amount of work completed. Members of the D60 Board and Leadership Team wearing hardhats and bright vests while touring the new high schools
“My impression is that the buildings are so aesthetically pleasing, with so much light,” Superintendent Macaluso said. “It’s amazing to see them coming together so quickly, and I am just beaming with pride for all of our construction workers and everyone who has had a hand in this project.
“It’s exciting to see.”
“What an incredible gift this is going to be for the entire city, but particularly for our students and staff,” Assistant Superintendent Morey said. “I can tell you that when they walk into those spaces, their jaws are going to drop.
“It will be so exciting and I can’t wait for that day.”
Board Member Clementi said she can already sense “the excitement in the buildings.”
“They are coming together very quickly,” she added. “And the way they are put together, and arranged, is going to be so wonderful for students and teachers.”
The architectural renderings, Vice President Farrell noted, “really didn’t prepare me for what I saw today. It was impressive to see the actual structure and imagine kids in those gyms and auditoriums, having a much better educational experience in those buildings.”