Sherman Independent School District trustees were kept up to speed with design and construction activity on the new Sherman High School Monday night with presentations from the project’s architects and builders.

The board took no formal action on the presentations, but was shown site plans, floor plans and renderings of the campus by VLK Architects and received an update on bidding and construction efforts by contracted builder Cadence McShane. After breaking ground this fall at the intersection of FM 1417 and West Travis Street, the $157.8 million school is scheduled to open for classes in August 2020 and will be capable of supporting up to 2,600 students.

“We’re excited to be underway,” Cadence McShane Senior Project Manager Lee Thomas said.

VLK Principal Architect Clinton Schiver helped board members envision the completed 450,000-square-foot school with digital renderings of the building’s interior and exterior, as well as a floor-by-floor layout and a site map of the entire high school campus. The school, as designed, will include 48 classrooms, an 1,800-seat gymnasium, a multi-level library, an 850-seat auditorium, storm shelter and career technology spaces. Outside, the campus will boast a large courtyard with seating and landscaping, multiple athletic fields and courts, six parking areas, and a practice pad for the school’s marching band.

Schiver said the project designers set out to include the eight building features that district-assembled committees identified as priorities for the new school, including outdoor learning spaces, common areas and natural light.

“You can tell there’s a lot of intentionality in each of these spaces, and that was to meet the community goals,” Schiver said.

Trustees present at the board’s November meeting unanimously approved a $20.1 million concrete infrastructure project scheduled to begin this month and facilitate the movement of building materials and the start of construction. Thomas told trustees that the site had been completely graded and the building pad was complete. The project manager said crews were expected to punch holes and install piers beginning this week and that upward progress is expected to be seen by spring of next year.

“I’m happy to say that, currently, we are scheduled to have vertical construction visible from (FM) 1417 by the first of May,” Thomas said. “That’s our goal.”

Thomas also discussed the building firm’s ongoing bidding process, which has generated more than 300 submissions and proposals from vendors in North Texas and around the country. The firm’s presentation slides cited bids from as close as McKinney for utilities and as far away as the Midwest and New York for materials ranging from specialized sports flooring to hardware for doors.

“There’s not many K-12 projects of this size,” Thomas said. “This is a really, really big school. It got national attention.”

The board of trustees is expected to take a final vote on the guaranteed maximum price for the campus’ main academic building and athletic facilities at its regular monthly meeting in January.