The Sherman Independent School District sought design input for its planned new high school from students, staff and community members Wednesday at the administration building.
After visiting a number of recently built high schools throughout the state, the district presented a variety of potential features for the new high school on display boards. Students, staff and community members were then asked to place stickers on the boards indicating their preferred options.
Following this, groups were formed to discuss the potential layout for the building. The groups were able to provide input on whether they preferred a multi-story or single story building, as well as the best flow for classrooms and extra curricular spaces.
Sherman High teacher Anthony Hartman, who has worked for the district for the last nine years, said the meeting was highly collaborative.
“We are getting to see all of the new designs and getting to hear opinions,” Hartman said. “We are getting to participate in what the architects think and what our administrators think. It’s a very open environment. We’re hearing a lot about where it’s going and developing. It’s very exciting.”
The 16 Sherman High students in attendance were selected due to their leadership within their respective organizations. Students and staff were also chosen to represent the variety of music related groups, clubs and sports throughout the school.
Dillingham Intermediate School Campus Technology Specialist Shawn Stephens said including the students in the meeting is important.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Stephens said. “I think a lot of times, we as adults can get a little disconnected from how they like things. The main purpose is for them. To get input from the kids is a great idea.”
Sherman High sophomore Nick Estes explained natural lighting is especially important in the design for him.
“Sometimes you’re sitting in class and you feel like you’re never going to see the sun again,” Estes said. “It’s so nice to see windows and open spaces and collaborative spaces where you can come together and you can actually feel like you can see the sun. All of these are very warm environments, which I think is very important to have for our students.”
Hartman agreed open spaces and communal environments need to be a key aspect of the design.
“I like the collaborative environments,” Hartman said. “There were a lot of open environments with a lot of open seating. There were areas where you could come together and have class in an alternate way. There were some schools that had open environments outside utilizing outside space.”
Estes went on to convey his hopes that a more open layout will improve the overcrowding in the current high school hallways.
“It’s like rush hour traffic,” Estes said. “Sometimes you’re barely even moving. It’s crazy walking through these hallways. So, the fact that it’s going to be open and more modern in design where traffic flow is a lot easier is a big deal for everyone.”
For Sherman High senior Daniel Munoz, the priority is technology improvements.
“Our Wi-Fi is terribly slow,” Munoz said. “You can’t even do Google classroom. It’s inconvenient. It will help everyone get engaged because things will actually load. I like interactive learning because there is a lot more visuals and I feel like it’s more updated. With technology you have the world at your fingertips, you can research anything.”
Hartman said he believes the new building will promote student involvement.
“The energy of having a beautiful brand new building is infectious,” Hartman said. “The kids will feel pride coming to school every day. Driving up, they will feel good about coming in the building. That will affect everyone. I think that will be positive. I think also having a bright new shiny place that’s modern and that is innovative will help them be more engaged.”
Feedback from Wednesday’s meeting will be analyzed by VLK Architects to identify trends. The trends will be the base for the preliminary design of the new high school. Once trends are established, options will be brought before the Bond Oversight Committee.