New Texas High School Recognized for Adaptability in Design

By Roxanne Squires

GODLEY, Texas — The new Godley High School recently received a 2018 American Institute of Architecture (AIA) Fort Worth Honor Design Award — recognizing the new campus for its modernized design and accommodating learning environment.

A project from the Fort Worth, Texas offices of Huckabee, Inc. — the groundbreaking of the new Godley High School took place in October 2016 and opened in Fall 2018 to house 700 students in grades 9-12.  

The new 120,000-square-foot facility maintains a district-wide initiative to evolve educational delivery and to create a cohesive learning experience. A key theme in Godley High School’s new design regards both adaptability and flexibility as the highest priority while applying inspiration from college campuses.

The epicenter of the facility is a grand Center for Learning & Innovation (CLI) that combines learning, social and civic use into an open-concept, adaptable space. The CLI features a café, library, collaboration rooms with movable walls, a film room, learning stair and access to the outdoors. It creates a mash-up of spaces that can be utilized in infinitely possible ways to customize the learning experience.

The school also wraps around the district stadium, creating a unique viewing experience for athletic events and allowing the school’s commons and outdoor courtyards to double as public-use space. Throughout GHS, engaging collegiate spaces and flexible elements empower students, emphasize choice and encourage collaborative learning.

According to Huckabee Inc., planning an innovative design within a budget of $28 million required maintaining thoughtful use of space as well as careful consideration of how to phase the project to take advantage of available facilities and amenities. It also required a team approach, tested when the district and Huckabee were faced with an unanticipated budget challenge: following a successful bond program, preliminary projections for tax revenue were lower than anticipated—a result of a decline in natural gas mineral property taxes.

However, the team immediately worked with the construction manager of Bartlett Cocke General Contractors to create a priority list and alternates that would frame the budget, successfully putting forth a facility within the budget.

The team focused on creating spaces that had multi-purpose uses, such as a CLI, outdoor learning courtyard and presentation rooms purposed for academic, athletic and community needs. The connection between the stadium and learning space also supported multi-functional use. This focus on adaptability minimized inefficiencies in the program and maximized the budget.

The end result was a campus that could essentially work entirely as a classroom.

“The design of this campus was truly a collaboration with Godley ISD stakeholders who came together to envision the new Godley HighSchool,” said Godley ISD Superintendent Rich Dear as reported by the Cleburne Times-Review. “As honored as I am to receive this award, I am even more proud of the teaching and learning happening in and around the campus. We wanted the entire campus to be a classroom, and we embraced the belief that learning can happen anywhere.”