Updated learning environments that boost climate and culture
Built in 1922, East High School is a unique, historic building beloved by the community. As a neighborhood gathering place, East is a source of pride. The building’s facade and architecture hold beauty, but as a facility meant to engage young minds, spark innovation, and deliver our vision of student-centered instructional design, East needs significant renovations.
Through site visits, a review of the building’s age and condition, input from our instructional team, and feedback from students, staff and the East community, we have identified what we believe are the priorities at East that could be taken on with the community’s support of a 2020 capital referenda.
Our focus would be on completing much-needed updates, including full renovations of labs, STEAM, and hands-on learning and exploration spaces, a major redesign of the commons area known as “the mall,” extensive improvements to keep the building warm in winter and the addition of whole-school air conditioning.
We also propose creating an easily identifiable and welcoming main entrance on 4th St., where students, families, and visitors would access a secure entry and a relocated welcome center, main office, and centralized student services. This would include installing a new elevator for accessibility. An addition above the proposed new main office would create space for experiential learning opportunities.
The proposal also calls for relocating the cramped music practice spaces closer to the theater and repurposing that area for classrooms. It would also update and combine the split Library Media Center into one LMC.
Community use and athletic facilities would also be upgraded. Proposed projects include renovating the gymnasium into a new spectator gym with bleacher seating for 2000, adding a second story to incorporate a fitness room, and updating locker rooms.
All of this work would be aligned to our commitment to environmental sustainability. **Spring 2020 update: A persistent theme in the community input that the school board heard throughout fall 2020 was a strong desire for additional investments in environmental sustainability projects at our four main high schools with a return on investment. (View a February 25, 2020 meeting at La Follette on the potential sustainability projects.)**
Recommendations $70 Million
- Existing classrooms would be renovated to be better utilized for larger classrooms and collaboration space.
- STEAM Lab and Technical Education
- Significant upgrades to the existing spaces to improve functionality and aesthetics.
- Renovation of the existing space to accommodate relocation of the music rooms. There would also be an addition of a stair/elevator for vertical access to additional experiential learning spaces.
- Fine Arts music rooms would relocate to the newly renovated former tech ed portion of the building.
- The existing libraries would be renovated and combined into one space by taking over a portion of the existing corridor.
- An addition above the proposed new office and existing music rooms would provide instructional space for experiential learning opportunities.
- Student Services would be relocated to a renovated space in the former music department area of the building.
- Main office entry would include an addition and renovation to bring all of the office and welcome center into one location that is more accessible to the public. This would include an addition to help identify the main entrance.
- The Commons/Kitchen area would get an addition and renovation to the existing cafeteria space.
- With funding set aside for environmental sustainability projects at East, we propose installing a 100 kilowatt solar array in addition to new windows, LED lighting, and other energy-efficient measures in alignment with MMSD’s commitment to renewable energy.
Climate and Culture
Items in the report on the facility’s condition that were graded as a B or lower would be addressed. When students feel comfortable, healthy, and supported by their environment, they engage more in school in a positive way. These include:
- Mechanical system overhaul: A new geothermal heating system and whole-school air conditioning would provide students with a comfortable and climate-controlled environment in which to learn.
- Spacious renovated restrooms would support student health, hygiene, privacy, and comfort.
Community and Athletic Spaces
- Facilities used by the community for meetings, gatherings, adult basketball leagues, youth sports teams, and other groups would be upgraded.
- Gymnasium/athletic entry – currently a project in construction – would provide a new entry to the fieldhouse, which would also be renovated to be the new spectator gym.
- A second story would be added to the gymnasium/athletic entry addition to incorporate a fitness room.