Westbury HS holds second community meeting on new addition and renovations

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Westbury High School held its second bond community meeting on Thursday evening to give an update on plans for a new addition and renovations to the campus under the district’s 2012 bond program.

About 60 students, parents, teachers, and staff attended the meeting, where they heard a presentation from the project architect and had the chance to give feedback.

“This is your opportunity to see what we’ve been doing and all of the planning that’s been going on behind the scenes,” said Westbury Principal Susan Monaghan. “We’re busy here at Westbury making changes. We’ve had an awesome team to work with this year.”

The scope of the $40 million project includes construction of a new two-story addition at the corner of Chimney Rock and Dryad, and general renovations to the existing building, which will accommodate 2,300 to 2,500 students.

The new facility is set to feature flexible learning centers, a commons area designed to serve a dual purpose as both a dining and gathering space, and new replacement athletics facilities, which are already under construction.

Project architect Scott Brady of Joiner Architects told the audience that some factors the team addressed during the design process were to create a 21st century learning environment, along with a new identity and positive school image. The design will help enhance the image of the school by creating a well-defined, secure, and more prominent main entrance.

The project team also presented new designs for a one-way student drop-off and pick-up area in front of the school, which will remove the current multiple parking lot entries and relieve traffic congestion.

“It’s a beautiful design,” said Javon Brown, IT coordinator at Westbury. “The existing part is a much older part of the campus that is in need of major repair or removal, so the new design is giving us a new section, which is wonderful. Also, a clearly defined entrance is one of the things the school is lacking.”

Some community members at the event voiced concerns about the aging apartments located adjacent to the Westbury campus, which stand between the school and new athletics fields. They expressed concern for the safety of students walking by the complex, as well as disappointment that the district did not purchase and raze the complex to create a larger campus for the school.

Although the purchase of the adjacent property is not in the scope of the bond program, the team assured the group that student safety is a top priority and explained that all safety concerns will be evaluated and addressed.

The project is currently in the design development phase. Construction is expected to begin before the end of 2016 and take about two years to complete.