by Shatanya Clarke, Texomashomepage.com
WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita Falls Independent School District is one step closer to beginning construction on two new high schools in Wichita Falls.
School leaders met Thursday and approved the schematic designs for the high schools.
This could potentially be the biggest, most modern construction project the city will see for generations to come.
While the board approved the designs, there is room for more changes as things progress.
Architects with the design firm Huckabee said they’re hoping to begin construction in November, but they have a long way to go with all eyes now on what the new schools will look like.
Tom Lueck, Chief Operations Officer for Huckabee, presented designs to the WFISD school board on Thursday.
“Mr. Kuhrt and the board really challenged us to say what does feature education look like,” Lueck said. “So we went back and really challenged our staff because we are one of the leading K12 education architects in the state of Texas.”
Lueck believes the designs are a good representation of state of the art yet durable elements his team can provide to this project.
WFISD Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said he believes a modern school maximizes time using that facility.
“What we’ve done with the auditorium, in particular, is the auditorium is going to be meeting spaces,” Kuhrt said. “It can be broken up into six classrooms, all the six classrooms can be broken up and you have three classrooms watching a play and three classrooms behind there.”
Safety and security are factors that have also been heavily considered for buildings of this size.
“There are four entrances and after the school day starts everything is going to be lockdown and there is only going to be one main entrance into the building, everything is going to be access-controlled so if you have your badge you can access swipe get in and out of the building,” Kuhrt said.
Two major steps remain in this design approval process with quite possibly many more changes ahead.
“The thing we’re gonna do start the end of February is to go room by room with the staff and show them what does space look like based on what we’ve designed right now they’ve really just seen what dos the four walls of the floor plan looks like,” Lueck said.
And even though this is just the beginning Kuhrt, board members, and all those involved are excited to get this project underway.
Kuhrt said flexibility is key here in these designs because as people continue to grow, adapt and change he hopes the same for the building since these are schools for the future.
The goal is to start accepting bids in August and begin construction in November.