Mesquite ISD—Mesquite High School Addition/Renovation
Architect: WRA Architects
The site is a registered Historic Landmark. Project goals were to honor the school’s historic character, create Next Generation learning spaces, provide technology-intensive Collaboration Areas and a Technology Bar, upgrade instructional areas to current TEA standards, increase capacity for growth, provide an EF-5 Tornado Shelter, and eliminate portables. The project includes new sky bridges and improved circulation, giving students smoother, secure connections with the rest of the campus.
The existing building’s palette of red-black brick and fluted cast stone continues in the new. The goal was to design a major addition that would not only make a landmark statement for this historic high school but that would also be technology-intensive and flexible to accommodate future generations of students. Classroom areas are flexible with large, open Collaboration Areas with large windows that allow visual monitoring and convenient use by students from several classrooms at a time.
A major goal was to build a new wing for this historic high school that would be flexible to accommodate many generations of future students. The project included parking improvements, an EF-5 Tornado Shelter, 40 classrooms, office and support areas, and accessible connections to the existing buildings. All entrances to the original free-standing building had been exterior; the new building connects directly and securely to the adjacent building and includes new skybridges over the fire lane.
The largest Collaboration Area is near the front upstairs overlooking the entrance and has flexible furniture, accent lighting, and a full window wall for natural light. Inside the new instructional areas, classrooms are flexible. Portable teaching walls can pull out and be used in up to two classrooms combined. Spacious Collaboration Areas with large windows and power/data outlets have flexible furniture for group study or project-based learning. Includes a Technology Bar with task lighting.
As a century-long major community destination on a major thoroughfare, this addition improves access to and the usability of this historic high school for students and teachers, as well as the public. Access to the building that was replaced had previously been exterior and non-secure; the new replacement building added more indoor connections, an elevator, more stairwells and new sky bridges over the fire lane. The addition is technology intensive and flexible to accommodate future generations.
For the safety of students and teachers during construction, the project was phased. Renovations elsewhere allowed the new building to be constructed during a school session with minimal disruption. An extensive planning process involving District administration, campus officials, maintenance and facilities personnel with the architect addressed the building’s historical status, foundation damage, changing curriculum needs, and District growth. Optional solutions were presented and deliberated.
The project was to replace part of a historic building which had foundation damage and had not been renovated recently. The resulting new building preserves the landmark historical character while providing a modern, technology-rich, 21st Century learning environment. The old building had small classrooms and small windows; its replacement has large, flexible instructional areas with wide expanses of glass and wired Collaboration Areas. Students are now more connected to the rest of the school.
Star of Distinction Category Winner