By Roxanne Squires
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. — USD 475 recently broke ground on Junction City’s new high school located on a recently purchased 159-acre quarter land on the west side of the city.
SJFC Architecture and Hutton Construction of Wichita, Kan., were selected for the $105 million project to create a spacious superstructure capable of holding up to 1700 students, a top loading stadium, soccer field, tennis courts and ball diamonds.
The main 16-foot corridor will serve as the spine with four academy wings on its north side and complimentary conventional classrooms on the south.
Academies include a Freshman Success wing; Science/Engineering and Tech; Business and Information Technology; and a Fine Arts Academy. The Academy structure will start out with 14 and work towards 16 career pathways including both academic and vocational opportunities.
Chief Operations Officer, David Wild stated that having the school located on a new, unencumbered site will provide opportunity for creation of a design that will facilitate collaborative work areas, makerspaces, a student union, conventional classrooms with movable walls and other amenities fostering a non-industrial climate.
“A scatter food service system will provide a minimum choice of four entrees with a satellite serving point located near the Freshman academy,” said Wild. “The design will support open architecture with each classroom and work area having access to ambient light.”
The site includes a natural 80-foot elevation fall from its high to low end which allows for both a top loading main gym seating 2,100 and football stadium seating 5,000.
Patrons will be able to walk in at the mezzanine level while athletes will emerge onto the floor / field at ground level. The objective is to create a welcoming learning environment not unlike a college environment with student and parent choice being the driver for academic study.
“Educators are being challenged in this time to envision their respective teaching environment as it might appear years to decades from now,” said Wild.
The new Junction City High School delivers this vision through providing interactive Smart panels, large screen televisions and demonstration tables with overview capability.
The building will be populated with integrated digital informational displays serving multiple purposes. A comprehensive security system is also under development and review with the ability to seal off portions or the entire superstructure at the touch of a button. Administration staff will be located with each academy with three strategically placed offices for school resource officers with one being a control center.
Junction City High School Principal Melissa Sharp stated at the groundbreaking, “we’ve been working on the possibility of renovating or building a new high school since maybe 2014. So we’ve been at this a long time just talking about what if. The vision is there the work ethic is there and I want to see this come to fruition for our town,” according to a local news report.
The official opening for the new high school is scheduled for August 2021.
Reports from WIWB.com contributed to this story.