Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Frisco High School adds auditorium and gym courts in $20 million renovation
Frisco ISD has been one of the fastest growing school districts in the nation since the late '90s.
FRISCO With $20 million and 70,000 square feet in renovations, Frisco High School is ready to welcome students for the first day of school.
Fondly nicknamed "THE Original," Frisco High School is the oldest high school in Frisco, founded more than 100 years ago. The school's current campus was built in 1996, with the most recent additions built in 2001. Now, more than a decade later, school officials thought the school was due for an upgrade.
"We want to make sure we're providing adequate spaces for those programs that either weren't as large or that we didn't have when they designed and built Frisco High School," said Richard Wilkinson, deputy superintendent of business services.
In fact, it is the most extensive renovation project in Frisco ISD, said Shana Wortham, executive director of district communications.
"We didn't have twice the resources we have now," Wortham said. "It needed to be brought up to the standards of our high schools today. That's why it costs more than some of the others."
The additions include a new competition gym large enough to house varsity and junior varsity games at the same time, something the high school hadn't been able to do in the past.
"If you had gone in that gym before, it was set up so that someone could practice on the other [court], but you couldn't have whistles and fans sitting in both," Wilkinson said. "We were even having to have JV go play at the middle school while we were having a varsity event."
The projects also include a new auditorium, the only building that won't be completed before the start of school. Instead, it will be completed in October. Some of the space for that building will be used for an orchestra, storage, and practice rooms.
The old auditorium space will be used to expand the cafeteria. Other changes include a new library, two science labs, nine classrooms, a small group instruction classroom, and more.
"We want to make sure that we are able to meet our students' needs and that [Frisco High School] is just as functional as our other campuses," Wilkinson said.
The renovations came at a time of change for the entire school district. Due to a growing population, each high school in Frisco expanded to accommodate up to 3,000 more students.
Frisco ISD has been one of the fastest growing school districts in the nation since the late '90s, Wortham said. While it had 3,800 students in the district in 1998, today Frisco ISD is home to 45,000 students and is projected to increase to 62,000 by 2020.
Over the summer, the Frisco community has to adjust to the construction on campus.
"It's like living in your home while you're still living there -- we've had to rearrange parking, utilize different entries," Wortham said.
But come fall, all the inconveniences will be worth it, Wortham said.
"It's the oldest high school, so I think they're excited about the changes, that refurbished new feeling and the additional opportunities," Wilkinson said.
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