2019—Athens High School

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

Through a combination of new construction and renovation, this project re-brands and extends the life of the District’s flagship high school. In keeping with the District’s vision of “Igniting Potential–Inspiring Success” this project touches all student programs. From new science labs and classrooms, an enlarged commons, expanded CTE spaces, new competition gym, and an updated stadium and new Field House, this campus will serve, ignite, and inspire current and future students for decades.


A 410-foot courtyard split the original campus. The new Assembly and Recreation Center located in this area creates a contiguous campus and includes large core spaces that promote connection in a secure environment. The design flows from student realities to possibilities: updated academic spaces connect to commons bathed in natural light leading to early college and career readiness areas, facilitating customized learning. Exterior metal panels in school colors tie the facility together.


For $33.1 million, the District recast the form and function of its high school, extending value and improving the student experience. In contrast, a new campus of this size would cost over $130 million. Space adjacencies were carefully planned to stretch the budget while meeting design goals. Embedding the campus with different size assembly areas accommodates a variety of needs. A shared use agreement with the local college has created a dedicated annual income stream for the District.


By salvaging rather than demolishing existing buildings, tons of waste was diverted from landfills, and the campus was transformed to meet 21st century needs. An ultra-efficient HVAC system with energy management controls was selected to save on utility costs. Heavy-duty materials both inside and outside will withstand student and public use. LED lighting throughout, low flow fixtures, and high volume, low velocity fans will reduce energy consumption and provide operational savings.

Community—Star of DistinctionCommunity

Historically, this community has been defined by its schools, and this project has had an immediate positive impact. Going from a 680-seat gym to a 2637-seat gym has allowed for more partnerships with civic groups, churches, and the local college for gatherings, trainings, and events. Improved athletic facilities hosted 4 playoff games with up to 6000 out of town spectators per game, and an invitational basketball tournament for 28 teams, resulting in increased commerce for local businesses.


Early planning centered on enhancing campus security, expanding 21st century learning and CTE spaces, improving efficiencies, and creating room for growth. Through design charrettes with administration and staff, a central connection center was envisioned that would link traditional academics to an expanded CTE building. Not only would the connection center keep students safely under 1 roof and provide a more welcoming, secure entrance, but it would promote CTE/academic cross-collaboration.

School Transformation

  • “The improvements made to this campus have had a significant impact on the programs offered to students and their learning experience.
  • Based on recent testing, students at this high school scored 85% on college readiness compared to 54% in the surrounding area.
  • Enrollment in the construction management program has doubled since the campus reopened.
  • This past year, high school students earned over 150 certifications.
  • The future is bright for these students, the District, and the community.”

Stars of Distinction Star of Distinction Category Winner