2017—Cuero High School

Cuero ISD—Cuero High School
Architect: Claycomb Associates, Architects

This 170,000 square foot addition and renovation includes new classrooms, administration, competition gym, locker and training rooms, fine arts suite, and performing arts center. The key project goal was to expand high school opportunities for students and build one of the most technically advanced performing arts centers in the state. In a district known for its athletic prowess, this project is an expression of the community’s commitment to academic and fine arts success.


The addition allows for elective classes to be grouped together and zoned away from quiet areas. For the first time in 10 years, all academic classes are in the same building under 1 roof. Students access the addition by way of a connecting corridor that includes a new administration and secure entrance, ample natural light, and a “Hall of Fame” displaying awards and alumni success stories. A horseshoe drive creates a welcoming and functional entry point to the new gym and fine arts areas.


Value—Star of DistinctionThis project improved and extended the life of the existing high school and provided a much-needed performance venue for the entire community for less than $200 per square foot. Sharing the cost of the PAC with a civic group freed up bond monies for other key district projects. Durable finishes were selected to withstand student and public use. Facility rental fees and hosting UIL events and tournaments has generated a new income stream for the district and more commerce for local businesses.


The design includes many sustainable attributes. Interior and exterior LED lights, low flow fixtures, and building occupancy sensors reduce overall energy consumption. Natural daylighting also reduces energy usage. Polished concrete floors in the classroom wings, band hall, choir room, and throughout the athletics areas are durable and low-maintenance. Interior and exterior brick, stone, and metal paneling were sourced from local suppliers, and a recyclable roof membrane was selected.


In 1980, a local group began fundraising for the auditorium portion of this project. Members of the group served on the bond planning committee and a partnership formed – one that would lead to improved fine arts and academic spaces in a district known for athletic success. One year after completion, band, orchestra, academic UIL, and all but basketball advanced in their respective tournaments, and the new Performing Arts Center has become a showcase venue for the District and the community.


Architects met with administrators and district program directors to brainstorm design concepts. Visioning sessions and a tour of a private local museum resulted in the “Hall of Fame” concept, which is a key storytelling feature in the new connecting corridor. The design team also met with and received specific input from the local Economic Development Corporation to ensure that the finished project would preserve and promote the history and successes of the community and the district.

School Transformation

Before completion of this project, the high school had no assembly area other than the school gym. Theater students didn’t have a classroom but met in the cafeteria on a non-compliant UIL stage. Academic classes were spread throughout multiple buildings, some which were built in the 1950s. Now, all extracurricular areas have upgraded spaces, academic classes are grouped together, and technology and security improvements ensure that students have a vibrant 21st century learning experience.

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner